ASSEMBLY’S LEGAL COMMITTEE IS TOLD RECENT CONTACTS MAY HELP EARLY COMPLETION OF TEXT AGAINST INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

10 October 2007
GA/L/3318

ASSEMBLY’S LEGAL COMMITTEE IS TOLD RECENT CONTACTS MAY HELP EARLY COMPLETION OF TEXT AGAINST INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

10 October 2007
General Assembly
GA/L/3318
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

Sixth Committee

3rd Meeting (PM)

ASSEMBLY’S LEGAL COMMITTEE IS TOLD RECENT CONTACTS MAY HELP

EARLY COMPLETION OF TEXT AGAINST INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

 

Delay Said to Be Encouragement to Perpetrators; Some Argue

Phenomenon Must not Be Associated with Particular Religion or Culture

The early conclusion of a comprehensive international convention against terrorism should be the focus of the Sixth Committee (Legal), delegations stressed this afternoon, as debate began on measures for its elimination, while several speakers cautioned that terrorism should not be associated with any particular religion or culture.

Presenting a report on the eleventh session of the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism, which is drafting the international convention, Rohan Perera (Sri Lanka), Chairman of that Committee, said there was now a rare opportunity for progress to be made on the text.  Bilateral contacts held since the Committee’s session last February had generated the necessary momentum for a positive result, and he hoped a finalized text would soon be delivered to the General Assembly.

Speaking for the European Union, the representative of Portugal said the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy last year was a significant achievement, but an active engagement was required to implement it, otherwise it would not happen.  The issue of convening a high-level conference on counter-terrorism -- also on the Ad Hoc Committee’s agenda -- should be taken up, once agreement had been reached on the comprehensive convention.

The representative of Egypt, which had first proposed the convening of a high-level conference in 1986, said the convening of the conference might speed up the early conclusion of the convention.  She emphasized the importance of holding the conference under United Nations auspices to reach a concrete definition of terrorism.

The representative of Turkey said his country had given more victims to terrorism in recent days.  The only way to soothe the pain and agony was a determined commitment by the international community to eradicate terrorism.  The inability so far to finalize a comprehensive convention was beneficial to terrorists who felt encouraged to advance their agenda.

The representative of the Republic of Korea called for the adoption of the comprehensive convention on an “urgent” basis, urging that momentum of the past year should not be lost as the few remaining issues were resolved.  For the Non-Aligned Movement, the representative of Cuba called for an international summit to formulate a joint, organized international response to terrorism.  States should act by ratifying or acceding to the instruments already in place to fight terrorism.  He said the Non-Aligned Movement rejected all actions and measures that violated the United Nations Charter and international law, either on the pretext of combating terrorism or to pursue political aims.

Colombia’s representative called for strengthening international cooperation and information exchange between the United Nations, States and other organizations at all levels in areas such as border control, police and intelligence services and control of drug-related crimes.

Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Viet Nam (on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Rio Group),, Australia (on behalf of CANZ), Benin (on behalf of the African Group), Trinidad and Tobago (on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Tajikistan (on behalf of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and Pakistan (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)).

Speaking in their national capacity were the representatives of Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Thailand, Kuwait, Iceland, Myanmar, Oman, Bahrain, Libya and Zambia.

Work on the draft international convention on terrorism began in late 2000 and the Ad Hoc Committee has been holding one session per year, usually early in the year, with the work being continued in the framework of a working group of the Sixth Committee later in the year during the regular session of the General Assembly.

The Sixth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 11 October, to continue the debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism.

Background

The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this afternoon to consider the topic “measures to eliminate international terrorism”, which was first included in the agenda of the twenty-seventh session of the General Assembly, in 1972, following an initiative of the then Secretary-General.

At its sixty-first session last year, the General Assembly requested its Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism to expedite its elaboration of a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  The Ad Hoc Committee was also asked to continue consideration of the question of the convening of a high-level conference under United Nations auspices to examine international response to terrorism.

In the report (document A/62/37) on the work of its eleventh session (New York, 5-6 and 15 February 2007), the Ad Hoc Committee, established under General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, referred to the willingness of delegations to explore new proposals that might lead to the conclusion of consensus text on the draft convention.  The outstanding issues continue to centre on the provisions of article 18 of the draft instrument, which covers those who would be excluded from the scope of the convention.  The Ad Hoc Committee’s report contains an informal text of the article prepared by its Vice-Chairperson, who coordinated informal contacts among delegations on the matter in between sessions.

On the subject of an international conference on terrorism, some delegations reiterated their full support for it, while others said action should wait until an agreement on the draft comprehensive convention.  But Egypt, which proposed the conference in 1986, said it should not be linked to the convention, since issues such as the underlying causes of terrorism and its definition could be addressed at the gathering.

The Ad Hoc Committee began work on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism at the end of 2000.  It holds one session early in a year, and the work is then continued in the framework of the Sixth Committee later in the year during the regular session of the General Assembly.

Other documents before the Committee include a report of the Secretary-General (document A/62/160) containing information from Governments and international organizations on measures taken to eliminate international terrorism, recent developments on the subject and information on workshops and training courses on combating crimes connected with international terrorism.

The Sudan has transmitted a letter (A/62/291) containing the final communiqué and recommendations of the Conference on Terrorism and Extremism that met in Khartoum on 24 and 25 July 2007.  Among the recommendations, the Conference said there is “a pressing need to continue and revitalize the dialogue between Islam and Christianity and between Islam and the West, with a view to ensuring cooperation between the parties in order to eradicate the phenomena of terrorism and extremism”.

Introductory Statements

The Chairman of the Sixth Committee, ALEXEI TULBURE ( Moldova), said the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee and the Friends of the Chairperson were at the continued disposal of delegations, to conduct bilateral contacts on the outstanding issues relating to the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  He urged delegations to avail themselves of the opportunity and continue their negotiations in good faith, so that the important instrument might be finalized.

He said that one important element of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was for States “to consider becoming parties without delay to the existing international conventions and protocols against terrorism, implementing them, and to make every effort to reach agreement on, and to conclude, a comprehensive convention on international terrorism”.

He noted that the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, adopted on 13 April 2005 by the General Assembly (resolution 59/290), had entered into force on 7 July 2007.  The completion of the draft comprehensive convention would be an important contribution to the legal framework for combating international terrorism.

ROHAN PERERA ( Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism, introducing the report on the work of its eleventh session last February, said the overall atmosphere of the negotiations was encouraging.  Delegations had reiterated the importance they attributed to the early conclusion of the draft comprehensive convention and had continued to demonstrate a spirit of compromise and a willingness to consider new ideas and approaches to resolving the outstanding issues.  He said there was a general sense that a solution to those issues continued to revolve around draft article 18, which was also the central focus of the discussions.  The importance of not reopening issues, but of preserving the integrity of the bulk of the text, was also emphasized.  He also referred to a text presented by the coordinator of the draft comprehensive convention (the Vice-Chairman of the Committee) that sought to capture the different concerns raised by delegations and to bridge the gap that had been insurmountable for several years now.

He said there was now a rare opportunity for progress to be made on the draft convention.  He hoped that intersessional contacts held since that Committee’s session in February would have generated the necessary momentum for a positive result as renewed attempts were made to complete their task.  It was his hope that a finalized text of the draft convention would soon be delivered to the General Assembly.

Statements

LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), renewed the group’s support for implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and called for a successful conclusion of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  He said measures against terrorism must be comprehensive, balanced and in compliance with international law, particularly in relation to the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.  At the same time, it was important to address the root causes of terrorism and it must be stressed that terrorism could not and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.

He said that fighting terrorism and related crimes was always a priority for the ASEAN countries, who had spent the last year strengthening their coordination and cooperation in that regard, both within and outside the region.  An ASEAN convention on counter-terrorism had been developed, for example, and while it had yet to enter into force, discussions on measures to implement the convention were already under way.  Among other measures, an expert group had been formed on implementation, and a workshop for facilitating early entry into force would be convened this month in Indonesia.

Describing ASEAN’s cooperation with other regional groups and its dialogues with Japan on identifying areas for capacity-building cooperation, he then spoke in his capacity as representative of Viet Nam to report that the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate had paid an onsite visit to his country in August.  The delegation had commended Viet Nam for its commitment to combat terrorism and its willingness to cooperate with the United Nations, particularly in areas such as improving its legal and institutional framework for fighting terrorism.

NAPOLEON BERAS (Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said the United Nations Charter set out the principles on which States should act while countering terrorism.  States must refrain from the threat or use of force in international relations in any manner inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.  States must also uphold the principles of the right to self-determination, the sovereign equality of all States, the peaceful resolution of disputes and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.

Calling on States to implement the comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he also emphasized that it was imperative to reduce the social and economic divide among nations and to promote intercultural understanding.  In that regard, he welcomed the “Alliance of Civilizations” initiative and the High-Level Dialogue that had just been held on religion and culture.

He said a comprehensive convention against terrorism would complement the legal framework already in force.  It would provide the concrete basis for responding to the challenge of terrorism that humanity faced.  Meanwhile, sanctions aimed at combating terrorism must be in accordance with international law.

MICHAEL FORSHAW (Australia), on behalf of the CANZ group -- Canada, New Zealand and Australia -- reaffirmed their strong condemnation of all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and recognized that terrorism continued to present a serious challenge to international peace and security.  He said Member States must counter stereotypes and misconceptions that terrorists sought to exploit.  They must refute the terrorists who claimed that there were irreconcilable difference between religions and cultures, and that their citizens could not thrive together in a diverse society.  Interfaith and intercultural dialogue could contribute to that process by reaching out to moderates and isolating extremists.  CANZ firmly believed it was in the United Nations where the global standard could be set that terrorism could never be justified.

He said CANZ continued to strongly support the ongoing counter-terrorism work of the committees established by Security Council resolutions 1267, 1373 and 1540.  The group had engaged at the regional level to assist with capacity-building measures.   New Zealand and Australia had continued to provide funding assistance for counter-terrorism capacity-building in the Pacific region, with the convening by New Zealand of the Pacific Island Forum working group on counter-terrorism.  Representatives of the Security Council committees had participated in the Forum, and had engaged directly with the Pacific island countries.  In addition, in May of this year, New Zealand had hosted two significant gatherings to advance the global response to interfaith and intercultural issues in a practical way.

He added that Canada was also committed to a sustained and robust response to the growing threat of international terrorism, and actively supported the efforts of partner countries by providing training and assistance through its counter-terrorism capacity-building programme.  The programme had a geographic focus on South and South-East Asia, as well as the Latin American-Caribbean region. Additional assistance was provided in the former Soviet Union through the Global Partnership Programme.   Canada had also made sustained efforts to reach out to its diverse ethno-cultural and religious communities, ensuring that their voices were heard.

He said Australia had made a long-term commitment to tackling terrorism in its region. It was constantly assessing the terrorist threat and emerging trends in terrorist activity, as well as re-evaluating its counter-terrorism strategies.  Since 2002, Australia had committed more than $450 million to counter-terrorism cooperation.

JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin), on behalf of the African Group, said they also strongly and unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  They recognized that all nations shared a common interest in being more proactive and adopting a preventive approach.   Africa had long recognized the need to embark on concrete measures to counter the phenomenon of terrorism.  The erstwhile Organization of African Unity had adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism of 1999, which had entered into force in 2002.  That had been followed by a plan of action by an intergovernmental high-level meeting in September of that year.  In addition, the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism had been established in Algiers, Algeria.  That demonstrated the commitment of African Member States to address terrorism.

African States welcomed the initiatives for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the fight against terrorism.   Africa always endeavoured to live up to its international obligations in the fight against terrorism and in the implementation of related Security Council resolutions on the subject.  African States appealed to the international community for support to enable them deliver more easily on their commitments.  The draft comprehensive convention should in no way deny people their right to self-determination.  The proposed international legal instrument should make a clear distinction between terrorism, and the legitimate struggle for freedom and independence of people under foreign occupation or colonial rule.  He said liberation struggle did not constitute terrorism, as it was recognized in many relevant General Assembly resolutions, particularly, 46/51 of 9 December 1992.

JOÃO MADUREIRA (Portugal), speaking for the European Union, said the adoption of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy was a significant achievement, but positive action was needed to implement it, otherwise it would not happen.  It required active engagement.  Likewise, reaching agreement on the comprehensive convention should be the main focus of the Legal Committee.  The issue of convening a high-level conference on counter-terrorism should be taken up, once agreement had been reached on the comprehensive convention.

Continuing, he said there was no easy solution for eliminating international terrorism, and the problem required a multi-pronged approach.  The conventions and protocols were important tools, as were the resolutions that had been adopted.  However, multilateral action to fight the scourge of terrorism had to go beyond those tools.  It was necessary to promote peace through a culture of dialogue and in that way overcome tensions, prejudices and, above all, the ignorance on which terrorism fed.

“Today’s European identity is a multiple one,” he said, adding that it reflected manifold and pluralistic influences.  The Union was committed to promoting dialogue, understanding and universal appreciation of different religions, cultures and beliefs through initiatives such as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Alliance of Civilizations.

RODRIGO MALMIERCA DÍAZ (Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, called on States to fulfil obligations under international law to combat terrorism in ways consistent with the Charter, including by prosecuting and extraditing perpetrators of terrorist acts.  States must also prevent the organization of terrorist acts, or participation in such activity, on their territory.  They must refrain from supplying arms or other weapons that could be used for terrorist acts in other States.  All States must also refrain from extending support for terrorism, whether politically, diplomatically, morally or materially, and they must ensure that refugee or any other legal status was not abused by perpetrators.  Claims of political motivation were not be recognized as ground for refusing requests for extradition.

He called for an international summit to formulate a joint organized international response to terrorism.  He said States should act by ratifying or acceding to the instruments already in place to fight terrorism.  He also called for concluding the comprehensive convention, noting the progress made by the Ad Hoc Committee elaborating the instrument.  All States must cooperate in resolving the outstanding issues.

He said the Non-Aligned Movement rejected all actions and measures that violated the Charter and international law, either on the pretext of combating terrorism or to pursue political aims.  The Security Council sanctions committees should streamline the listing and de-listing procedures, in order to address concerns of due process and transparency.

EDEN CHARLES ( Trinidad and Tobago), speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the Community deeply regretted the failure so far to conclude the comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  Its members would continue to participate actively in deliberations of the Ad Hoc Committee, and urged resolution of all differences in a spirit of compromise for a successful conclusion of the legal instrument.

He said the Community nations were committed to upholding the international rule of law as a defence against the threats posed to their safety and that of others in the international community by terrorist acts.  That was why they were parties to the 13 counter-terrorism conventions of the United Nations, and had in some cases given domestic legal effect to their obligations under those international legal instruments.  In addition, they had also sought to implement the provisions of United Nations Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1450 (2002), and complied with the reporting obligations under them, despite their burdensome nature.  They stressed the need for cooperation among States in the gathering and sharing of intelligence and in the extradition of persons accused of terrorist acts.

He said the region had not been spared the commission of a dastardly terrorism act and referred to an incident that had occurred 31 years ago.  The alleged perpetrator of the incident, which had resulted in the loss of many young innocent lives, had yet to face justice.  For that reason, they urged that terrorism be categorized as one of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, and that perpetrators be prosecuted in the same manner as those accused of other heinous crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

SIRODJIDIN ASLOV ( Tajikistan), speaking for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, reiterated that group’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, by whomever it was committed.  Terrorism could be countered through international cooperation, he said, and such cooperation could be effected under the aegis of the United Nations.  Counter-terrorism efforts should be carried out without double standards; such efforts should include dialogue among civilizations and the strengthening of international cooperation, particularly through civil societies.  He stressed the group’s support for the United Nations role in those efforts.

He said the group welcomed the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly, and stood ready to ensure its implementation.  He spoke about a counter-terrorism convention signed by their Heads of State in 2001, which set out the region’s efforts to combat the scourge.  It included the establishment of a centre that in a short period of time had become a location for successful information exchange on counter-terrorism efforts.  The group was interested in forging cooperation with regional organizations to enhance cooperation.  It was also interested in working with United Nations anti-terrorism bodies.  The group urged early completion of work on the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism.

FARUKH AMIL ( Pakistan), speaking for the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said terrorism should not be associated with any religion, race, faith, theology, values, culture, society or group.  There was no religion, or accepted religion or religious doctrine, that could be falsely portrayed as encouraging or inspiring acts of terrorism.  In today’s globalized world, what was what needed was “understanding, harmony and the building of bridges among all cultures and people”. That could be done through initiatives such as the Dialogue among Civilizations, the Alliance of Civilizations, interfaith dialogue and enlightened moderation.  OIC reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen mutual cooperation in the fight against terrorism, and said that full implementation of all aspects of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy could facilitate international cooperation.  Its members noted that the Strategy addressed the root causes of terrorism, which included foreign occupation, festering international disputes, denial of people’s right to self-determination, political and economic injustices and political marginalization and alienation.

STEFAN BARRIGA ( Liechtenstein) called for real negotiations to address the substance of the outstanding issues on the comprehensive convention.  He said that was mostly concerned with the question of article 18, dealing with exceptions from the convention regime.  Other provisions must not be forgotten, since they had to be taken into consideration when interpreting proposals relating to article 18.  The wider framework must also be considered.

To address the substantive issues, he said, it was useful to recall what had already been noted.  First, the convention would not give the final overarching legal definition of terrorism.  Then, it would not affect the right to self-determination and it would not make a “distinction” between terrorism and the right to self-determination.  The relationship between the convention and international humanitarian law should be clarified, but the idea was that those who played by the rules of armed conflict should not be prosecuted as terrorists at the international level, although they could be prosecuted under national criminal law.  Finally, the convention would not explicitly address the concept of “State terrorism” but would also not exclude it, and the convention would not be comprehensive, but a mere complement to the existing regime.

CAROLINE BICHET-ANTHAMATTEN ( Switzerland) said it was regrettable that work on the comprehensive convention had made little progress.  It was the most important outstanding item in relation to the 2005 World Summit.  Member States must participate actively and constructively in the negotiation process.  The only provision was to be that the integrity of international humanitarian law be respected.  Further, measures must be taken to guarantee the fundamental principles of the rule of law when it came to the listing and de-listing procedures with regard to sanctions, particularly through the creation of a focal point responsible for dealing with de-listing requests.  The procedure needed more clarity and fairness.

ILYA ROGACHEV ( Russian Federation) said the Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted a year ago allowed for increased multilateral action under the United Nations umbrella.  A review should be conducted to see how implementation was progressing.  States must not wait for the Secretariat to act, but must enhance their own efforts in fighting terrorism.  His country had created an initiative that joined Government and business sectors in combating terrorism.  States should take specific legislative measures to prevent financing of terrorism or its instigation.  States should also become actively involved in regional initiatives, even as the international legislative basis for combating terrorism should be broadened.  Finally, the comprehensive convention must be finalized at the speediest pace; compromise must be achieved on the still incomplete definitions.

NAMIRA NABIL NEGM ( Egypt) reiterated her country’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, regardless of its motivations or objectives.  She said Egypt also emphasized the importance of not associating terrorist acts with any specific religion or culture, especially the Islamic religion.  It was necessary to address the root causes of terrorism and the eradication of the political, economic and security factors that nourished it.

Egypt, she went on, foresaw the importance of finalizing negotiations on the comprehensive convention against international terrorism.  Her delegation emphasized the importance of holding a high-level conference on countering terrorism under the aegis of the United Nations, aimed at reaching a concrete definition of terrorism.  That might speed up the early conclusion of the convention.  The role of the General Assembly in combating terrorism was vital.

DON PRAMUDWINAI (Thailand) said his country was party to 9 of the 13 United Nations anti-terrorist conventions and protocols, the most recent being the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages of 1979.   Thailand had submitted its instrument of accession during the recent treaty event of the current General Assembly.  It pledged to become a party to the rest at the earliest opportunity.

He said any counter-terrorism measures taken against an individual should be based on fair treatment and respect of that individual’s rights as guaranteed under the laws of the State taking the measures, as well as international humanitarian law.  Thailand attached importance to the convention of ASEAN on counter-terrorism, which was the latest regional framework for fighting terrorism, and it would welcome the sharing of experiences and lessons learned, as well as determination of best practices, with other regions.

MOHAMMAD ABDULLAH AL ATEEQI ( Kuwait) stressed the importance of regular reviews of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  It urged speedy conclusion of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  It also sought a legal definition of terrorism, which should not be equated with the rights of peoples struggling for self-determination and freedom from foreign occupation, as stated by the United Nations Charter.

He said Kuwait was working diligently on measures to combat terrorism, which included the adoption of a ministerial resolution to establish an “International Moderation Centre” to spread the moderate message of Islam, based on peace, mercy, respect of cultural and religious pluralism and diversity of civilizations.  Conferences had been organized -- in London in May 2006 and another in Washington D.C. in November of that year -- on cultural pluralism and on moderation respectively.

HJALMAR HANNESSON ( Iceland) said coordination and information sharing were fundamental to the effective functioning of the Global Strategy.  The Counter-Terrorism Online Handbook, launched in January, was a helpful tool towards that end.  The work of the Implementation Task Force was commendable, including in its support to Member States.  Hopefully, the comprehensive convention would soon be finalized and a high-level summit organized.  He said that, while counter-terrorism efforts were crucial for protecting the peace and security of the world, it was no less important that those efforts be based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.

U SAW HLA MIN ( Myanmar) said his country was a State party to 11 counter-terrorism conventions and was making its best efforts to ensure that domestic law complied fully with those conventions.  Building and strengthening cooperation among law enforcement agencies was key to effectively tackling the issue, through regional and subregional initiatives.  His country focused on taking action against the financing of terrorists and on addressing the root causes of terrorism through interfaith and intercivilization dialogue.

BAKI ILKIN ( Turkey) said it was time to take a firm stand against all forms and manifestations of terrorism, no matter what was behind them.  Differentiating between the targets of terrorists, or between military and civilian casualties, led to a situation where there was no escaping the scourge.  It was understandable that the conditions conducive for terrorism would be of concern, but the mental exercise should not lead to passive observations; the inability so far to eradicate hesitations and indecisiveness on a comprehensive convention was of benefit only to terrorists, who felt encouraged to advance their agenda.

He said a strong political will was required to implement the Global Strategy.  Those who provided safe haven to terrorists must end the practice, whether intentional or unintentional.  Those who allowed terrorists to continue their political propaganda should not let those freedoms be turned into weapons.  He added that all expressions of support and solidarity against terrorism should be translated into action.  Turkey had given 15 more victims to terrorism in the recent days; the only way to help soothe the pain and agony was through a genuine display of commitment by the international community to combat and eradicate the practice in a determined manner.

ALABBAS IBRAHIM HAMAD ALHARTHI (Oman) said his country condemned all forms of terrorism, and was greatly concerned about combating the scourge.  It supported international efforts to combat it and had taken steps to implement United Nations Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions.  It had established a national committee on combating terrorism and had acceded to a number of international counter-terrorism legal instruments.  He said a global effort to counter terrorism must include a definition of the phenomenon, as well as a study of the motives of the perpetrators.  Pinning acts of terrorism on a particular religion would generate hatred.

Oman supported the convening of a high-level international conference on terrorism and supported an offer by Saudi Arabia to establish an international anti-terrorism centre in the kingdom under United Nations auspices.

Mr. AL HAIDEN ( Bahrain) said efforts against terrorism had to be stepped up through international cooperation.  The causes of the scourge must be studied.   Bahrain welcomed the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly last year.  It also welcomed the determination of the international community to combat terrorism, as well as the ongoing efforts to conclude a comprehensive international convention against it.

He said that terrorism should not be linked with Islam; there must be faith in a common destiny of mankind.   Bahrain continued to work to combat terrorism, and had acceded to 13 counter-terrorism legal instruments.  It had also become party to regional instruments on the subject.  He stressed the need for increased international cooperation to solve all aspects of the problem of terrorism, including its definition and root causes.

Mr. GOUIDER ( Libya) said his country had always supported the holding of a high-level meeting to define the term “terrorism”, and to elaborate a truly comprehensive convention.  People had a legitimate right to fight foreign occupation, and denying them that right was not the way to deal with the matter.  Rather, there should be a clear definition of the phenomenon that addressed all forms of the activities within that scope.

CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said suppressing the sources of financing used by terrorist organizations required the execution of concrete measures, such as criminalization, in national legislation, of the relevant activities.  It also called for the establishment of national normative and supervision regimes for financial institutions and the adoption of national and multilateral regimes for cross-border movements of cash and financial titles.  Finally, information exchange needed to be expedited.

She said international cooperation and information exchange should be strengthened between the Organization, States and other organizations at all levels -- in areas such as border control, police and intelligence services and control of drug-related crimes.  The subject of protection and rehabilitation programmes for victims of terrorism should be given immediate attention, while the participation of civil society should be encouraged in a global campaign against the scourge.  As a result of Colombia’s strategy, the homicide rate in the country had fallen 40 per cent, and the rate of kidnappings had dropped by 83 per cent in the last five years, down from 1,709 cases in 2002 to the 282 registered in 2006.

LAZAROUS KAPAMBE ( Zambia) called for agreement on a legal definition of terrorism that took into account the legitimate struggles of peoples for their self-determination, freedom and independence in conformity with the Charter.  Also, as enshrined in the Global Strategy, emphasis should be placed on the need to strengthen national capacities to enable countries to participate effectively in fighting terrorism.  The convening of the proposed high-level conference to formulate a joint international response to terrorism would be welcome.  And again, delegations should show flexibility and understanding in negotiations on the comprehensive convention.  The perpetrators of terrorism should get the clear message that the world would leave no stone unturned in its fight against them.

KIM HYUN CHONG ( Republic of Korea) said the comprehensive convention should be adopted on an “urgent” basis.  It was important to not lose the momentum of the past year, as all now worked together to overcome the few remaining issues.  Member States should apply the same spirit of flexibility and compromise to this matter as they had in adopting the Global Strategy.  They should remember that the purpose of the comprehensive convention was to build a seamless network of international cooperation to facilitate the prevention of acts of international terrorism.  The existing sectoral anti-terrorism conventions were major achievements in the fight against terrorism; the comprehensive convention would just fill the gaps between them, supplementing rather than supplanting them.

He said: “Many of the most dangerous terrorists operate through protean, ever-shifting clandestine terrorist networks that exploit the benefits of globalization to commit their heinous crimes”.  Only a comprehensive, holistic approach could be effective against such an enemy.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.