SPEAKERS IN OPEN SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE ENDORSE REVISED ORGANIZATIONAL PLAN PROPOSED BY COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORATE
SPEAKERS IN OPEN SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE ENDORSE REVISED ORGANIZATIONAL PLAN PROPOSED BY COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORATE
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5855th Meeting (AM)
SPEAKERS IN OPEN SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE ENDORSE REVISED ORGANIZATIONAL PLAN
PROPOSED BY COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORATE
Broad endorsement emerged in an open Security Council debate today of the revised organizational plan for the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and renewal of its mandate, along with a deepening understanding that the most pressing need in combating terrorism was less to ensure that countries understood the challenge and more to ensure they had the capacity to carry out the fight.
Presenting the plan at the start of the meeting, CTED Executive Director Mike Smith said that resolution 1373 (2001), adopted in the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States, set out measures that the international community must take to combat the threat of terrorism. All elements of that text remained as relevant today as they had been six-and-a-half years ago.
He noted that most countries had now criminalized terrorism, hundreds of new ratifications of key conventions and protocols had been recorded and there had been almost unprecedented international exchanges of information and cooperation across borders with the purpose of disrupting planned terrorist attacks and enabling the arrest and prosecution of those engaged in terrorism.
Today, he continued, the Counter-Terrorism Committee tended to spend less time establishing whether countries had put appropriate legislation and counter-terrorism machinery in place, and more time evaluating the effectiveness of their border-control arrangements, counter-terrorism coordination machinery and law- enforcement capabilities. In the process, awareness had been raised regarding the constraints of capacity, resources and infrastructure impeding full implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) in particular countries and regions.
Emphasizing that the revised organizational plan was intended to address those concerns, he said the main organizational change was the establishment, within CTED’s Assessment and Technical Assistance Office, of five functional groups in the areas of technical assistance; terrorist financing; border control, arms trafficking and law enforcement; legal issues; and issues raised by resolution 1624 (2005), as well as human rights aspects of counter-terrorism. Two smaller units -- on quality control, and communications and outreach -- had also been created. The plan also suggested several innovations to the Executive Directorate’s working methods.
He said the appalling 11 December 2007 bombing of the United Nations offices in Algiers was a reminder that, notwithstanding the positive efforts, terrorism remained a serious threat to all and continued to evolve and manifest itself in new and dangerous ways. Member States must do more to address that threat, and the United Nations must do a better job of helping them. Hopefully, the renewal of CTED’s mandate and implementation of the proposed revised organizational plan would contribute to that collective effort.
“We will know we have succeeded when we see an improvement in Member States’ preparedness to tackle terrorism,” the United Kingdom’s representative said, adding that another indication would be a genuine increase in national counter-terrorism capabilities. Against that backdrop, the United Kingdom welcomed the new Executive Director’s appointment. Another positive sign was the Directorate’s focus on donors and its commitment to increase cooperation with other parts of the United Nations, while playing a full part in the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.
Indonesia’s delegate also expressed appreciation for CTED’s revised organizational plan, specifically noting its emphasis on the guiding principles of cooperation -- transparency and even-handedness. Those principles were essential, not only to upholding the Directorate’s credibility, but also to ensuring that its work was guided by a clearer platform in achieving concrete, practical and measurable results.
He said the Directorate should ensure that technical assistance aimed at increasing the national capabilities of Member States was guided by their specific needs. Indonesia hoped CTED’s proposed new communication strategy would serve as a primary framework in conducting a tailored dialogue with the Committee and Member States. The Directorate should develop new mechanisms and practices with a view to strengthening the Committee’s cooperation with other counter-terrorism bodies.
South Africa’s representative, agreeing that the revised organizational plan deserved support, said it was a departure from the “one-size-fits-all” approach that had characterized the Committee’s work to date. In addition, the overemphasis on visits to developing countries reinforced the perception that shortcomings in implementing resolution 1373 (2001) were only prevalent in certain Member States. South Africa also wished to see less formal visits to Member States, a step that would reduce the drain on resources. The Committee’s activities, including its travel plans, should reflect its guiding principles of cooperation, transparency and even-handedness.
In a similar vein, the representative of Panama, whose delegation had chaired the Counter-Terrorism Committee last year, said only developing countries had been visited, a trend that could be perceived as selective. Panama supported the revised format for visits and the Directorate’s plan to participate more actively in the Counter-Terrorism Task Force.
Other speakers participating in the debate were the representatives of Burkina Faso, France, Croatia, Belgium, United States, Italy, China, Viet Nam, Costa Rica, Libya, Russian Federation, Japan, Turkey, India, Cuba, Slovenia (on behalf of the European Union), Australia, Spain, Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Venezuela, Argentina, Israel and Iran.
A United States delegate took the floor in response to certain statements, as did the representatives of Cuba and Venezuela.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and was adjourned 1:25 p.m.
Meeting to consider threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, the Council had before it a letter dated 7 February 2008 (document S/2008/80) from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001) concerning counter-terrorism, addressed to the President of the Security Council and containing the organizational plan for the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.
Briefing by Executive Director
MIKE SMITH, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), recalled that, on 10 December 2007, the Council had adopted resolution 1737 (2007), which extended the Committee’s mandate until 31 March and requested that he recommend changes to the Directorate’s organizational plan. On 24 January, a revised version of the plan had been presented to the Committee, which had subsequently endorsed the plan and forwarded it to the Council.
Recalling that resolution 1373 (2001) set out the measures for all countries to take in combating the terrorism threat, he said they included criminalizing terrorist acts, denying terrorists safe haven and financial resources, preventing them from crossing borders, and increasing cooperation among Member States in order to prevent terrorist attacks and bring perpetrators to justice. The resolution’s elements were critical to addressing the threat of terrorism and it remained as relevant today as it was six-and-a-half years ago.
Noting that considerable progress had been made, he said most countries had now criminalized terrorism. There had been hundreds of new ratifications of the key counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, as well as an almost unprecedented level of international information exchange and cross-border cooperation among the relevant agencies. It was aimed at disrupting planned terrorist attacks and enabling the arrest and prosecution of those engaged in terrorism. Today’s need was less to ensure that countries understood the seriousness of the challenge and more to make sure they had the capacity and expertise to implement the counter-terrorism measures contained in resolution 1373 (2001).
He said that today the Committee spent less time establishing whether countries had put appropriate legislation in place and more time evaluating the effectiveness of border-control arrangements, counter-terrorism coordination machinery and law-enforcement capabilities. The review of CTED’s organizational plan was informed by three specific priorities that were repeatedly raised during consultations with Council members and the wider United Nations membership: the consistency of judgements across countries and regions, which was critical to credibility; facilitating technical assistance, which was necessary for finding solutions to vulnerabilities; and communication, which was needed to explain what the Committee was doing to help national anti-terrorism efforts.
Turning to the specific proposals in the revised plan, he said the principal organizational change to CTED was the establishment within its Assessment and Technical Assistance Office of five cross-cutting function groups in the areas of technical assistance; terrorist financing; border control, arms trafficking and law enforcement; general legal issues; and issues raised by resolution 1624 (2005) and human rights aspects of counter-terrorism. The groups had been meeting regularly and were already producing useful revisions of strategy in the case of the technical assistance group, and revised criteria for harmonizing technical judgements about the implementation of particular elements of resolution 1373 (2001) in the case of the other groups.
Two smaller units had also been created, including a quality control unit to review documents before they left CTED, and a communications and outreach unit, he said. The revised organizational plan suggested several innovations, including a more flexible approach to country visits so they could be more focused and tailored to the needs and situations of the country concerned. It called for more comprehensive engagement with donors to better match capabilities and programmes with vulnerabilities identified in dialogue with countries.
He said the revised organizational plan proposed more active involvement in the work of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force in recognition that implementing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy simultaneously fulfilled the requirements of resolution 1373 (2001) in most areas. It suggested the need for greater efforts to strengthen collaboration and cooperation with the experts of the Security Council committees established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1540 (2004), and highlighted the usefulness of strengthened relations with international, regional and subregional organizations.
The Directorate was close to finalizing the 192 preliminary implementation assessments, one for each United Nations Member State, he said. Some 160 assessments had already been adopted by the Committee and sent to the capitals of the States concerned. CTED was also finalizing the global survey of the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001), which looked at the implementation of counter-terrorism efforts generally, the difficulties involved, and the gaps and vulnerabilities that must be addressed in particular regions. Terrorism continued to evolve and manifest itself in new and dangerous ways.
JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said the United Nations and the Security Council had a very important role to play in the fight against terrorism, which continued directly to plague a significant number of Member States, day in and day out. The United Kingdom utterly condemned the bombing of the United Nations office in Algiers last December. The international community must succeed in the joint endeavour of fighting terrorism. The threat was complex, requiring a multidimensional response, and the focus must be on interventions that would make a visible difference.
“We will know we have succeeded when we see an improvement in Member States’ preparedness to tackle terrorism,” he said, adding that another indication would be a genuine increase in national capabilities in that regard. The effort would involve disrupting terrorist networks, blocking their financing, border security and preventing their transport. Against that backdrop, Mr. Smith’s appointment was welcome, as was the focus on looking internally at CTED’s processes and looking outside to consult on how it could best work with all Member States in considering new priorities.
Regarding CTED’s planned renewed emphasis, he welcomed its focus on donors and its commitment to increase cooperation with other parts of the United Nations, including the 1540 Committee’s experts. Equally important was its commitment to play a full part in the Counter-Terrorism Task Force and to advance its work in countering incitement to terrorism. Tackling radicalization and recruitment was essential. The United Kingdom looked forward to CTED’s report because it was important to have a global picture of achievements and gaps. Such an analysis would be important at the start of each year.
MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said he was satisfied with CTED’s new proposal because appropriate and tailored technical assistance was a priority. The fight against terrorism was a joint responsibility and only solidarity and international cooperation would enable the international community to prevail. Visits to Member States should be better organized and more flexible, enabling engagement in exhaustive exchanges and a focus on the main concerns of the countries visited. Those visits should be given pride of place rather than a systematic approach.
He reminded CTED that it should engage in greater interaction with all Member States, as only collective, concerted efforts would make it possible to overcome the threat of terrorism. While several proposals had been made, Burkina Faso especially supported the concept of public briefings by the Executive Directorate. In addition, the Council’s actions should be more transparent and, like those of CTED, involve all Member States. The United Nations could not continue to ask Member States to engage in certain concerted actions against terrorism while itself engaging in disparate actions. The Organization should cooperate closely with regional and subregional organizations in order to gain a better understanding of regional factors.
JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) said that, from the outset, the Committee had developed a cooperative approach so that Member States could meet their obligations under resolution 1373 (2001). Field visits were indispensable to enhancing dialogue and since 2004 the Committee had visited 11 countries. It was crucially important to prepare visits with the greatest care, taking into account the specific needs of each country, region and subregion. Attentive follow-up was equally important.
Noting that CTED had approved more than 100 preliminary implementation assessments, he said that should allow for open, specific dialogue. It had embarked on a vast evaluation of resolution 1373 (2001) in order to have a comprehensive overview of its implementation. The Directorate must further fine tune its working methods in order to gear itself more towards the needs and capacities of donors and Member States. It must also play a role in streamlining United Nations efforts to fight terrorism and participate actively in implementing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly in 2006. The collective success of the Organization and the international community would depend on success in combating terrorism.
NEVEN JURICA ( Croatia) said terrorism attempted to undermine the core values of the modern world and challenged security, the basic principles of democratic societies and the rights and freedoms of the world’s citizens. Terrorist acts were criminal in nature and could not be justified under any circumstances. This year, Croatia had had the privilege and responsibility of chairing the Counter-Terrorism Committee established in the aftermath of the devastating attacks of 11 September 2001, whose mandate was to monitor implementation of resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), provide advice to Member States regarding implementation and help them receive the necessary technical assistance.
CTED played a crucial supporting role in fulfilling the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, he said, adding that, in the coming months, the Committee should finalize the adoption of the remaining preliminary implementation assessments so that every Member State could receive a standardized evaluation of its performance. By working in a collaborative manner, the Committee and the Directorate could increase the effectiveness of their work and reinvigorate the Security Council’s operations in that area. Croatia welcomed CTED’s proposal for the development of a comprehensive strategy to engage with donors who were active in the counter-terrorism field, and for intensifying tailored dialogue with recipient countries, with a view to identifying their counter-terrorism needs. Facilitating technical assistance was one of the most efficient ways of improving counter-terrorism capacity. It was also instrumental in raising the visibility of the Council’s engagement in that area.
JOHAN VERBEKE (Belgium), associating himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, said more frequent dialogue with Member States would enhance their support for the work of the Committee and the Executive Directorate. The United Nations strove to fight terrorism in a holistic way and implementation of Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005) was an important facet of Member States’ commitment in that field. States must be committed, show determination and provide resources. Cohesiveness, coordination and complementarity would guarantee stepped up efficiency.
Welcoming the strengthened cooperation between various Security Council committees active in combating terrorism, he said the struggle would only be effective in the long-term if it was rooted in legitimacy and respect for fundamental human rights. Belgium welcomed the systematic integration of that dimension into the work of the Committee and the Directorate, and endorsed the continued dialogue between the Counter-Terrorism Committee and other United Nations bodies addressing human rights, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the office handling special protection for basic protection of human rights and human freedoms. It was to be hoped that all the necessary elements would be reflected in the draft resolution to be presented to the Council tomorrow.
ALEJANDRO D. WOLFF ( United States) said the organizational plan clearly set forth the Executive Directorate’s priorities, including active participation in the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. The plan was ambitious but realistic, and aimed to enhance the Committee’s efforts, and therefore those of the Council, to promote implementation of resolution 1373 (2001). Counter-terrorism was a common effort, as was evident from the goals of the General Assembly’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy the priorities and goals of the Executive Directorate, which sought to strengthen the capabilities of Member States and ensure that the provision of assistance was adjusted to each country’s needs.
In addition to technical assistance, the Executive Director had also highlighted consistency and communications priorities, he noted. The elements of consistency, technical assistance and enhanced communication with all United Nations Member States made up the pillar supporting the Executive Directorate’s work. The United States also applauded efforts to modify the Directorate’s working methods, which were reflected in a more focused approach to its work. The revision of its operational structure was reflected in the plan to make the best possible use of personnel resources. Hopefully, the mandate renewal, given the revised organizational plan, would be a new beginning, building on the foundation laid in the prior mandate, which would, in turn, strengthen CTED.
MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy) said the task of implementing resolution 1373 (2001) was still daunting to many Member States. A cohesive system was needed as was adequate and reliable funding. The Committee was in the best position to match the needs of some States with the resources of other States. It could help monitor implementation of the resolution and enhance its role in facilitating and encouraging technical assistance. The Executive Directorate had already undertaken international action aimed at strengthening its ability to perform multifaceted tasks. Italy supported CTED’s revised working methods and the holding of open thematic discussions and debates with the main international stakeholders in the struggle against terrorism.
Stressing the need for the three Security Council committees addressing terrorism to improve their cooperation, he said old practices all too often seemed to count more than desired objectives. The time had come to create a unique support structure. The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy encompassed more extensive actions than those required by resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005). Italy called on Member States and other entities to act coherently in taking action to meet the objectives of those resolutions and beyond. International terrorism could be fought more effectively through international cooperation and Italy was doing its part by strengthening its collaboration with organizations in various countries.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said an international framework had been established to provide the legal foundation for the counter-terrorism efforts of various Governments and the United Nations. The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy reflected the common concern and the United Nations played an irreplaceable and central role in coordinating international cooperation in that regard. Hopefully, its counter-terrorism endeavours would be implemented in a balanced and reasonable manner and reflect national concerns. Comprehensive counter-terrorism measures should focus on terrorism in its various manifestations, as well as its underlying causes. China opposed attempts to link terrorism to any specific religious or ethnic minority groups, as well as the adoption of double standards.
He said the frequent eruption of terrorist acts around the globe highlighted the need for the Council and the international community to strengthen its counter-terrorism efforts. Resolution 1373 (2001) was an important part of those efforts and, although the Executive Directorate was mandated to monitor its implementation, Member States themselves were responsible for implementing that resolution. In the future, therefore, both CTED and the Committee should respect the choices of Member States in identifying their domestic counter-terrorism strategies, as well as their methods of implementation, and consider fully each country’s conditions and the specific difficulties it might face. They should try to be fair and reasonable and, when offering technical assistance, make efforts to meet the needs and desires of Member States. China supported the extension of the Executive Directorate’s mandate and hoped it would continue to be transparent and even-handed.
MARTY NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia), expressing appreciation for CTED’s revised organizational plan, specifically noted its emphasis on the guiding principles of cooperation, namely transparency and even-handedness. Those principles were essential not only to upholding its credibility, but also to ensuring that CTED’s work was guided by a clearer platform in achieving concrete, practical and measurable results. The Executive Directorate should ensure that technical assistance aimed at increasing the national capabilities of Member States was guided by their specific needs. Indonesia hoped its communication strategy would serve as a primary framework in conducting a tailored dialogue with the Committee and Member States. CTED should develop new mechanisms and practices with a view to strengthening the Committee’s cooperation with other counter-terrorism bodies.
Expressing support for the development of a more flexible system in order to allow for tailored and focused visits to countries in all regions, he said CTED should also employ a more balanced geographical approach in proposing States to be visited. There was also a need for the Directorate to present a more accurate picture in finalizing the global survey on implementation of resolution 1373 (2001). It should ensure that it employed consistent working methods and a balanced approach in preparing that survey. Indonesia had spearheaded cooperation in law enforcement, border control and the enactment of legislative frameworks for counter-terrorism. The Bali Counter-Terrorism Process, for instance, had established strong collaboration among legal and law-enforcement practitioners in South-East Asia and the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation had for several years provided training for law-enforcement officers in the region. Indonesia’s contribution was also evident in the regional effort to bring about the conclusion of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Convention on Counter-Terrorism.
DUMISANI KUMALO ( South Africa) said the revised organizational plan deserved support as it was a departure from the “one-size-fits-all” approach that had characterized the Committee’s work to date. Less formal visits to Member States would reduce the drain on resources. However, there was an over-emphasis on visits to developing countries, which reinforced the perception that shortcomings in implementing resolution 1373 (2001) were only prevalent in certain Member States. That must be corrected. The Committee’s activities, including its travel plans, should reflect its guiding principles of cooperation, transparency and even-handedness.
Expressing support for CTED’s intention to closely match the needs of Member States with what was offered by donors, he warned the Committee not to fall into the trap of perpetuating a practice whereby donors continued to dictate while the intended recipient Member States were passive participants in identifying their own needs. South Africa supported the Committee’s active participation in implementing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
Effective coordination between the Council’s subsidiary counter-terrorism bodies was still lacking, despite many calls for its enhancement, he said. There had been attempts to make joint visits and exchange information, but the desired results had not occurred. South Africa called on the Executive Director to make that a priority by ensuring better coordination and emphasizing common ground rather than differences in mandate.
LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) said his country had been consistent in its condemnation of terrorist attacks in whatever form, for whatever motive and by whomsoever, including those committed under the pretext of defending democracy and human rights. The international struggle against terrorism must be strengthened in a comprehensive and balanced manner, and in compliance with international law. It was necessary to address the political, economic and social inequalities, double standards, selectivity and use of force in international relations, which created conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. There was also a need to tackle such root causes of international terrorism as absolute poverty, political and social injustice. The United Nations must continue to play a leading role in that struggle, especially by promoting international cooperation and complementing the efforts of Member States.
He said his country supported the Executive Directorate’s dialogue with Member States as a means to identify ways to improve their counter-terrorism capacity. CTED had visited Viet Nam last year, and the country was committed to continued cooperation with it, especially in the follow-up to the visit and in contributing to the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee. Viet Nam concurred with the assessment that there had been further developments, both in the threat posed by terrorism and in how to face those challenges. Much progress had been made in raising awareness among Member States of their obligations under Council resolutions, and of the need to promote international cooperation in that regard. They now looked to the United Nations for assistance in strengthening their capacity and expertise.
RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said the success of United Nations efforts to end terrorism would depend largely on their acceptance by Member States and on their cooperation. Panama welcomed the launch of the process begun by the Executive Director and he should maintain that approach throughout consultations with the United Nations membership. It also supported the revised format for visits and the Directorate’s plan to participate more actively in the Counter-Terrorism Task Force. Over the past year, during which Panama had chaired the Counter-Terrorism Committee, country visits had been the subject of lengthy discussions. Only developing countries had been visited, which could be perceived as a selective decision. The new proposal would create greater flexibility, yielding both positive results and serving to establish criteria.
The comprehensive nature of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy allowed it to address such issues as the root causes of terrorism, he said, welcoming the decision by the Executive Directorate to step up cooperation and work to avoid duplication of efforts to end terrorism. Panama supported greater interaction between the Committee and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Panama also took note of the creation of the new thematic units in quality control and outreach in order to achieve greater accuracy in the Committee’s work.
JORGE URBINA ORTEGA ( Costa Rica), aligning himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the Rio Group, said he fully supported the changes made in the provision of technical assistance and in the Executive Directorate’s working methods. The adoption of resolution 1267 (1999) had launched the development of a robust institutional machinery to respond to the threat of terrorism. The United Nations, in light of the international emergency caused by terrorist acts at the start of the present century, had expanded that machinery with the aim of fighting terrorism and preventing it from threatening international peace and security.
At that point, he said, two important processes had been launched: the development of a normative process led by an executive body and the development of an ambitious institutional machinery. Further coordination was required. Circumstances had given rise to the urgent need to tackle terrorism, but the available machinery had lacked the necessary coherence. The time elapsed should now make it possible to overcome the limitations and gain a better understanding of the magnitude of the challenge. The consensus adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy had been a milestone in promoting a systematic, coherent and effective response.
GIADALLA A. ETTALHI ( Libya) welcomed the adoption of the revised organizational plan, noting that the new priorities were intended not only to support the Committee’s Task Force, but also to promote the means to eliminate terrorism through all United Nations entities and promote national capacities in implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The General Assembly’s efforts to ensure implementation should not be ignored, and neither should efforts to prepare a comprehensive counter-terrorism convention nor the call for a clear definition of terrorism, leading to an internationally transparent and balanced approach to terrorism.
Stressing that there was no justification for acts of terrorism, he cautioned against confusing the question of justification with that of underlying causes. The root causes of terrorism must not be disregarded, or confused with self-defence on some cases, while being deemed terrorism in others. The causes of terrorism must be dealt with objectively, like any serious effort to deal with a disease. Otherwise, there would be no diagnosis or healing, and meetings would be nothing more than a series of condemnations and briefings on frequent tragedies. Libya cautioned against accusing peoples, cultures and civilizations while ignoring justifiable reasons and employing double standards. Libya had adopted, within the framework of the United Nations and geographical groups, various conventions and protocols condemning all forms of terrorism, including direct and indirect State terrorism.
Council President VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation), speaking in his national capacity, said today’s meeting was another confirmation of the important role of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Security Council in addressing terrorism. The Committee had worked to create the necessary legislative basis and strengthen regional cooperation mechanisms, but results were varied. The creation of a reliable system to counter terrorism required more efforts and better cooperation between the Committee and Member States. It was necessary to assess the capacity of Member States and their readiness to provide assistance, as well as to strengthen the Committee’s functions as coordinator of technical assistance between donor and recipient countries.
The revised organizational plan would form a sound basis for strengthening the Committee’s capacity, he said. It would lead to better cooperation with regional organizations and more coordinated visits to Member States. Regarding the draft global review of implementation of resolution 1373 (2001), he said the earlier the Council received the analysis the more rapidly it would be ready to achieve the objectives set forth.
JIRO KODERA (Japan), expressing support for the extension of the Executive Directorate’s mandate through the end of 2010, said a medium- to long-term point of view was essential to the successful coordination of technical assistance. It was also important to have sufficient opportunity to review CTED’s activities in order to determine whether they were producing satisfactory results and discuss possible improvements in working methods. The Directorate was central to the review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, scheduled for September. Japan welcomed its active participation in the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and its working groups.
As chair of the Group of Eight (G8) this year, one of Japan’s highest priorities was to see the Counter-Terrorism Action Group grapple with the question of handling cooperation with the Directorate, he said. Japan wished to promote substantive discussions at the Group’s meetings by strengthening information-sharing and paving the way for the provision of concrete capacity-building assistance in the area of counter-terrorism. It also sought to promote further use of the Group in following up the Directorate’s visits to Member States. CTED had been engaged in drafting preliminary implementation assessments and securing sufficient assistance for that process would contribute considerably to implementation of the Global Strategy. The reform efforts launched by the Executive Director were a step in the right direction, but it was essential that they produce tangible results.
BAKI ILKIN (Turkey), aligning himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, said his country had suffered from terrorism for more than 20 years and had been at the forefront of efforts to eradicate the scourge. The struggle against terrorism should be a priority for all, and international cooperation was one of the most important prerequisites for success in that fight. A provision of resolution 1373 (2001) that deserved particular attention concerned the denial of safe haven to terrorists, which certainly required a more advanced level of cooperation among interested countries. Another essential element concerned the responsibility to end impunity for terrorists by ensuring that they were brought to justice, that punishment under domestic laws duly reflected the seriousness of terrorist acts, and that terrorists did not abuse refugee status.
Stressing that resolution 1373 (2001) provided a firm basis for a coordinated and united response to terrorism, he said it could only yield the desired results if it was implemented by all Member States to the fullest extent. Hopefully, the recently introduced preliminary implementation assessment mechanism would improve implementation. Intensified dialogue between Member States and the United Nations could also help detect some of the shortfalls in the fight against terrorism. It was with that understanding that Turkey had accepted CTED’s offer of a visit last year. Hopefully, it would also be able to visit other countries which had become targets or safe havens for terrorists.
NIRUPAM SEN ( India) said his country remained a victim of international terrorism. In less than 25 years, it had resulted in the death of more than 60,000 Indians and the country had an overriding interest in greater and more meaningful international cooperation to counter terrorism. No political cause, argument or belief could justify terrorist acts and India called on the world to act as one in denying terrorists, their ideologues and financiers’ access to arms, funds, means to transport their deadly goods and safe havens. Despite having taken up counter-terrorism more seriously, the United Nations in general, and the Security Council in particular, could show only limited evidence of a genuine common effort to create a more unified international response to terrorism.
A comprehensive convention on international terrorism should have been a first step in consolidating counter-terrorism efforts within the Organization, he said. It would provide the legal framework for an effective counter-terrorism strategy. It must be agreed upon in order to enable the creation of a strong interlocking network of Member States, international organizations and specialized agencies functioning together in unison to counter terrorism. There was no need for a philosophical definition of terrorism. Paragraph 1 of draft article 2 enunciated clearly the criminal-law definition of terrorist acts and current proposals effectively addressed the question of offences governed by the draft convention. Political will was now needed to conclude the treaty.
RODRIGO MALMIERCA DIAZ ( Cuba) said that the fight against terrorism was a priority for all peace-loving States, not just Council members. Cuba had never allowed, and would never allow, its territory to be used for terrorist actions against any State, without exception. However, only authentic and effective international cooperation could tackle terrorism, providing a sustainable response to the scourge.
He said his country had been submitting to the Council and the Counter-Terrorism Committee regular and exhaustive information on terrorist actions taken against it by several individuals and organizations, and on the conspiratorial protection that the United States Government provided them. More than once, the Cuban delegation had alerted the Council to the release of international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, rightly considered the most notorious terrorist of the Western hemisphere. But, despite his hideous actions, including the downing of Cubana de Aviacion Flight 455 in 1976, the United States Government had charged him only with minor crimes.
Cuba strongly denounced and condemned the complicity and absolute responsibility of the United States Government for that individual’s release from prison, he said. The fight against terrorism should be carried out in full and it was not possible to eradicate terrorism if some acts were condemned while others were tolerated or justified. Double standards and impunity could not prevail in addressing terrorism and the Council could not continue to maintain a conspiratorial silence regarding such a blatant affront to the victims of terrorism. Cuba would continue strictly to abide by the Council’s resolutions and to cooperate with its subsidiary bodies.
SANJA STIGLIC (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the European Union, stressed that any measures taken in the fight against global terrorism must be in accordance with international law, particularly international human rights, refugees and humanitarian law. The European Union supported continuation of CTED’s work in facilitating capacity-building and advising the Committee on issues of international law. It also supported fully the Directorate’s organizational plan. Its proposals for enhancing monitoring, cooperation and coordination, strengthening the facilitation of technical assistance and ensuring consistency of activities and information exchange would contribute to the efficiency and transparency of CTED’s work.
She said the Directorate should continue to advise the Committee and strengthen its role in facilitating technical assistance for the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) and enhancing the capacity of Member States to identify and implement effective measures to fulfil their obligations. It was important to maintain a tailored dialogue among the Directorate, the Committee and Member States which would allow for the regular exchange of information. The European Union also strongly supported the counter-terrorism and technical assistance projects between the United Nations and regional organizations. It regularly invited relevant bodies, including the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and members of the Executive Directorate, to attend meetings of the European Union Council Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.
FRANCES LISSON ( Australia) said the revised organizational plan would strengthen the Executive Directorate, improve its operations and place it at the centre of United Nations counter-terrorism efforts. Australia welcomed the Committee’s recognition of the need for CTED to participate actively in the work of the Task Force established to assist Member States implement the Global Strategy. The challenge now lay in translating the Strategy’s commitments into concrete action. Through engagement with the Task Force, CTED should play a constructive role in coordinating the counter-terrorism activities of various United Nations agencies. Australia looked forward to working with a more effective, dynamic and responsive Executive Directorate. It also welcomed strongly the focus on improving the capacity of Member States to implement all United Nations counter-terrorism resolutions.
Similarly, she welcomed the Directorate’s renewed focus on engaging with donors active in the counter-terrorism field and matching donor capabilities with the needs of recipients. Constructive relations with donor and recipient countries, and a practical focus on capabilities and needs, were critical to the success of CTED and the Counter-Terrorism Committee. The nature of the terrorist threat varied from State to State and region to region, as did national counter-terrorism capabilities and needs. Regional and subregional bodies had an important role to play in providing a better understanding of those capabilities and needs. Australia also welcomed the focus on human rights aspects of counter-terrorism, as the threat of terrorism could not be effectively countered “by using the same methods as terrorists”.
JUAN ANTONIO YANEZ-BARNUEVO ( Spain) said multilateral action was indispensable in dealing with terrorist barbarity and stressed the central role that the United Nations should play in addressing international terrorism in strict compliance with international law. The work of the Committee and its Executive Directorate had been remote in its ability to accomplish the objectives set forth in resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005). Four years had passed since the Committee’s creation and it was now important to assess the work of the Executive Directorate in fulfilling its mandate. Spain continued actively to support the Committee and was committed to achieving its objectives. The country had provided technical assistance to help other countries with legislative development, border control and the work carried out by police and security forces.
He expressed support for the Executive Director’s recommendations for modifying CTED’s organizational plan, streamlining its functions and adapting its working methods and organizational structures to the new needs and challenges it faced. The new organizational plan was a step forward and Spain welcomed its adoption by the Committee as well as that body’s approval of the Council’s extension of CTED’s mandate. The Directorate should be able to continue its work and sustain its methods in ensuring its role as facilitator between donor and recipient countries. It was important to redouble efforts to ensure the active participation of the 24 units set up to coordinate implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, noted that CTED’s revised organizational plan demonstrated that the focus today must be on evaluating implementation of the counter-terrorism measures and the coordination of adopted mechanisms. For those reasons, the Rio Group welcomed with great interest the proposed priorities in the areas of technical assistance, better communications and strengthening collaboration and cooperation with the 1267 and 1540 Committees. Since the adoption of resolution 1373 (2001) and the establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate, the United Nations had taken significant steps to fight terrorism. The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the Implementation Task Force offered an excellent opportunity to increase the Organization’s capacity to identify assistance needs and real possibilities for cooperation.
Accordingly, he said, the Rio Group recognized the importance of the Directorate’s support to Member States in implementing the Strategy, promoting the design of assistance programmes and coordinating efforts with international, regional and subregional organizations. The Committee should enhance its capacity to facilitate contacts and cooperation between donor and recipient countries and to promote greater interaction in identifying thematic areas and States’ priorities. That contribution would progressively strengthen the United Nations system towards achieving the necessary coherence to coordinate its efforts in the fight against terrorism. The resolution by which the Council would renew the Directorate’s mandate for two years would also call for a midterm interim review. The Rio Group hoped that would be a new opportunity to strengthen the United Nations response to terrorism.
AURA MAHUAMPI RODRIGUEZ DE ORTIZ ( Venezuela), reaffirming her country’s commitment to the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, said international terrorism could not be an excuse to justify violations of international law. Venezuela rejected unilateral practices and assessments based on subjective criteria that were not global in scope. Unilateral reports bore no value, nor did they help resolve problems. Multilateral cooperation under the auspices of the United Nations was the most effective way to fight international terrorism.
In the short term, it was important to create a definition of terrorism, she said, stressing also that terrorism should not be equated with legitimate struggles for national liberty and self-determination by people under colonial or foreign occupation. It was also crucial to prevent impunity for those who committed terrorist acts and all States must cooperate fully with international law in finding and capturing them, denying them refuge and bringing them to justice.
She recalled the extradition request that her country had submitted to the United States concerning Luis Posada Carriles, a known international terrorist and fugitive best known for the bombing of a Cuban airliner over Barbados in 1976 which had caused the deaths of 73 innocent civilians. The United States had ignored Venezuela’s request, submitted four years ago. It should comply with the extradition treaty it had signed with Venezuela in 1922. The United States was also obligated to honour the terms of the international convention concerning the suppression of terrorist bombings and the convention concerning illegal acts against civil aviation security. The Posada Carriles case was an example of a double standard by a Government that claimed to fight terrorism. The Committee should examine compliance on the part of the United States with resolution 1373 (2001).
JORGE ARGUELLO (Argentina), aligning himself with the Rio Group, said his country had experienced bloody attacks on its own territory, and this week another anniversary commemorating the attack against the Israeli Embassy had passed. Argentina was committed to bringing the perpetrators of those acts to justice. Regrettably, however, there had been no progress in the Sixth Committee (Legal) concerning the elaboration of a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention. Had it been possible to have drawn on such an instrument in the past few months, those responsible for such heinous acts could have been tracked down. The convention must be finalized, all the more so given the adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which would be revised this year.
He said that the midterm review of the Executive Directorate’s mandate would allow for “stocktaking” and an in-depth analysis of the political steps needed to resolve the question of terrorism, particularly with regard to the Middle East. As for the revised organizational plan, it could have placed greater emphasis on the need to ensure compliance with international human rights law. Argentina supported the proposal concerning staffing, particularly the need for experts in different disciplines. It was also important to enhance relationships with such organizations as Interpol, an element that could have been detailed further in the revised organizational plan.
DANIEL CARMON ( Israel), while strongly supporting the work of the Committee and the Executive Directorate, said more work could be done to support States that demonstrated the will and desire to upgrade their capacities but lacked the capability to do so. Constructive relations with donor and recipient countries, and a practical focus on capabilities and needs, were of paramount importance to the success of the Directorate and the Committee. Israel supported those efforts and was ready to assist.
The preliminary implementation assessment would be useful in evaluating Member States’ capabilities, he said, stressing also the crucial importance of follow-up and review. Israel would review its own assessment and see how that could be integrated into its national counter-terrorism strategies. The challenge now was to translate the commitments of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy into concrete action to prevent terrorist acts and prosecute and punish those who carried them out.
He said the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the Task Force were fundamental in reminding everyone that terrorism had real consequences and grave effects on civilians, he said. Israel had been forced to live under the threat of terrorism since its inception. Less than two weeks ago in the terrorist attack at the Mercaz Harav seminary in Jerusalem, eight boys had been coldly murdered by a terrorist but, despite many efforts, the Council had been unable to condemn that heinous attack. It was incumbent upon all States to adhere to their obligations under international law, including resolution 1373 (2001). It was alarming that some Member States were not only negligent in shouldering their responsibilities, but that they also hosted, supported and sponsored terrorism.
MANSOUR SADEGHI ( Iran) said that, despite certain achievements, the international community’s efforts to counter terrorism had met obstacles along the way, which must be appropriately addressed. For instance, an opposing unilateralist trend, from the outset, ran the risk of arresting the momentum and undermining the universal consensus, thus damaging the overall battle against terrorism. The application of double standards by certain Powers in tackling terrorist activities was also disturbing, and United Nations counter-terrorism bodies should more seriously and attentively address them. Indeed, CTED’s success, and that of other counter-terrorism mechanisms, depended on pursuing an integrated, non-selective and balanced approach to the implementation of the relevant Council resolutions.
He said his country had taken serious steps to implement Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005). In addition to presenting the required national reports and intensifying control over its borders, Iran had fought a costly and deadly war against drug trafficking, which originated in Afghanistan, a main “financial feeding ground” for certain terrorist groups stationed in that country. Iran’s efforts to fight drug trafficking had unquestionably been a contribution to the global anti-terrorism fight. Thus far, it had shouldered the burden almost single-handedly. To sustain the fight, more serious contributions and attention on the part of the international community was essential. Iran had also been suffering from atrocious terrorist activities perpetrated against its diplomats and nationals in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just two days ago, a group of Iranian pilgrims, who had make their way to Karbala alongside tens of innocent Iraqi people, had been martyred by terrorists.
The increasingly heinous and cold-blooded State terrorism perpetrated by the Israeli regime in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was of serious concern, he continued. The whole world had witnessed the unspeakable crimes against the innocent Palestinian people, in the absence of any meaningful Council action. Those crimes were undoubtedly among the most serious and gross violations of United Nations resolutions on terrorism, especially those of the Council. They must be confronted resolutely.
He said the “MKO terrorist group” had perpetrated more than 600 operations in Iran, resulting in the killing and wounding of many civilians and officials, as well as damage to national property. Despite the group’s appalling terrorist record, and its official designation as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, its members still enjoyed support and safe haven in the United States and European countries, including some members of the European Union, in clear violation of Council resolutions. Terrorism and terrorist groups should be condemned and combated without discrimination; there could be no justification for inaction, negligence and double standards in fighting that menace.
CAROLYN L. WILLSON ( United States) said that contrary to statements she had heard this morning her country had taken a number of actions with respect to Luis Posada Carriles. In so doing, it had acted consistently with international law, as well as its domestic legal framework, which provided for due process and constitutional safeguards. As with democracies worldwide under the rule of law, those safeguards provided that individuals could not be extradited or tried without sufficient evidence that they had committed the act(s) with which they were charged. In the United States, that standard was described as “probable cause”.
She said her country had been seeking ways to implement an order, consistent with United States regulations, which would implement the country’s obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Specifically, at the time when the immigration judge had ordered Mr. Posada removed, the judge had also determined that he could not be removed either to Cuba or Venezuela, as it was more likely than not that he would be tortured if he was so transferred. In accordance with its immigration laws, the United States was not in a position to remove Mr. Posada to either country.
Moreover, the United States had sought and obtained a criminal indictment charging Mr. Posada with violation of its immigration laws, she said. However, the Federal District Court handling that case had dismissed the indictment. The United States had filed notice appealing that decision on 5 June 2007. Mr. Posada also remained under investigation for past activities. In the meantime, he was subject to an order of removal issued by the immigration judge and was without legal status in the United States. He was also subject to an order of supervision by the Homeland Security Department, which had imposed certain restrictions on him. In sum, the United States remained engaged in an ongoing series of actions consistent with its legal requirements and due process with respect to Mr. Posada.
FERMIN GABRIEL QUINONES SANCHEZ ( Cuba) said his delegation could not allow the manipulation he had just heard to continue. United States authorities had violated international law with regard to that well-known international terrorist. If it had acted in conformity with international law and abided by the commitments it had undertaken in a number of international instruments and resolutions in the fight against terrorism, including 1373 (2001), Mr. Posada would already have been indicted and charged in the United States and, at the very least, extradited to Venezuela. Yet, the Cuban delegation still awaited a response to its question, and it seemed they would never get a response.
Stressing that Mr. Posada had acted on behalf of the CIA (United States Central Intelligence Agency), he said Cuba had much evidence to support that. At no time had the United States manifested its desire to bring Mr. Posada to justice for his inhuman activities. The fight against terrorism required serious commitment and political will. Statements made to the media were insufficient and double standards should end. Success was only possible if all terrorist acts were condemned and none tolerated. Cuba reaffirmed its appeal to the Security Council to consider its complaints.
Ms. RODRIGUEZ DE ORTIZ ( Venezuela) said she could not understand why the United States did not honour its extradition commitment. The only thing Venezuela asked was that it comply with its commitments. There was an agreement between the two countries and Venezuela had presented a legitimate request -– to have Mr. Posada extradited for trial in Venezuela. The United States had all the documents at its disposal, yet it had chosen to protect him, and the only thing he had been charged with were several small offences under immigration laws. Terrorism was being protected.
She said the United States was undermining justice and trampling underfoot the pain and suffering of the numerous families of the victims of terrorist acts. Venezuela had always honoured its commitments and it was party to the Convention against Torture. The Security Council and the Committee must consider the issue afresh. The United States must comply with its commitment to fight terrorism and its commitments under international law.
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