Press Releases

    Round-up of Session

    UNIS/CP/413
    6 June 2002

    VIENNA SYMPOSIUM ON TERRORISM ADDS MORE MOMENTUM TO GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

    VIENNA, 5 June (UN Information Service) – A Symposium held in Vienna to discuss the United Nations contribution to combating international terrorism has added further momentum to the global community’s determination to fight terrorism. The Symposium also explored how the expertise of the Vienna-based UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) in the field of transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering could be used to combat international terrorism.

    The Symposium was addressed by the Executive Director of ODCCP and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, Antonio Maria Costa who highlighted the many initiatives taken by the United Nations in combating terrorism in particular the establishment of a common legal framework of twelve Conventions and protocols.

    Mr. Costa also outlined ways in which the Vienna-based institutions could contribute to the fight against terrorism, calling for a road map as to how the international community could coordinate its activities for a truly global action against international terrorism. Mr. Costa talked about the economic, human and institutional costs of terrorism. Speaking at a press conference during the Symposium Mr. Costa said: "The first and foremost concern we have, which has been fully met and I mention it as an accomplishment, is to maintain the momentum at the political level in the fight against terrorism. The future role of the Vienna Office has been put on the map by a very large number of delegates. We are carefully examining what they have suggested."

    A keynote address was delivered by the Austrian Foreign Minister, Benita Ferrero-Waldner who specifically referred to the importance of funding the technical assistance activities of ODCCP. The Minister announced a contribution from the Austrian Government of one million US dollars to strengthen ODCCP’s capacity to develop projects, aimed at helping developing countries to ratify and implement anti-terrorism conventions. The Minister hoped the pledge from the Austrian Government would help create a critical mass, necessary for the well-functioning of ODCCP as the UN Centre for the fight against uncivil society, including combating illicit drugs, organized crime and international terrorism. Other countries pledged further resources.

    The Symposium also heard from Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council and the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the UN in New York. Sir Jeremy Greenstock explained how the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) has collected information from 150 Member States so far on how they are implementing Security Council resolution 1373, passed in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks. He said global coordination in the fight against terrorism was crucial otherwise potential or actual terrorists will migrate to where it is safer to be. He told a press conference the CTC’s work is about pulling all the threads together: "We are a switchboard, a catalyst and a driver of other institutions to do their work in a globally coordinated way …. It is our job to make sure that Member States contribute to this activity, that international institutions coordinate with each other in a global system." A number of the Symposium participants emphasized the importance of the contribution of regional and sub-regional organizations in international action against terrorism.

    The Terrorism Symposium, which was organized by the United Nations Office at Vienna with the support of the Austrian Government, brought together representatives from 100 States, 10 intergovernmental organizations and 6 non-governmental organizations. Expert panellists at the Symposium held on 3-4 June included some of the most prominent United Nations representatives involved in the UN’s response to the 11 September terrorist attacks: Hans Corell, Under-Secretary-General in the Office for Legal Affairs, Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Michael Doyle, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General, and Giandomenico Picco, Member of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Working Group on the UN and Terrorism.

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