12 October 2005
Legal Committee Ends Discussion of Counter-Terrorism Measures; To Receive Group Report on Comprehensive Convention
Afghanistan Delegate Says "Remnants of Taliban, Al-Qaida" -- and Other Extremists, Fanatics, Drug Traffickers -- Still Threatening Society
(Issued on 11 October 2005.)
NEW YORK, 11 October (UN Headquarters) -- At two meetings today, the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its general discussion of measures to eliminate international terrorism, and in particular, the ongoing negotiations on the comprehensive treaty on international terrorism. A working group on the comprehensive convention is expected to submit a report to the Committee on 21 October.
On another matter, the Committee recommended observer status in the General Assembly for the Common Fund for Commodities and the Latin American Integration Association, through the approval without a vote of two applicable draft resolutions.
The comprehensive convention on international terrorism would augment the other 13 specific terrorism treaties and fill in gaps in an international legal regime covering the topic. Pending issues touch upon a definition of terrorism that recognizes legitimate struggle and right to self-determination, and armed forces and the scope of the treaty's application, as well as its relationship to other treaties.
During the terrorism debate, the speaker for Afghanistan called attention to the connection between the trafficking of illicit drugs and terrorism in his country, saying that terrorists were undermining the democratic process in Afghanistan. "The remnants of the terror campaign, comprising the Taliban, Al-Qaida, and other extremists and fanatics, continue to attack our citizens and threaten our society as they interpret success in Afghanistan as their own defeat", he said. To fight terrorism to the end and to solve the drug problem, Afghanistan had to create jobs for the young and unemployed, create alternative livelihoods for poor farmers, promote dialogue and tolerance among different political groups, provide education, build hospitals and, most important, address human development and human rights, especially the rights of women. "However", he said, "our struggles will be futile if the international community falters in helping us defeat terrorists and their extremist and fanatic ideologies in Afghanistan and in the region."
The link between illicit arms and terrorism was made by the delegate of Nigeria who said efforts to fight terrorism should go hand in hand with identifying and addressing those factors upon which terrorism fed. Among the root causes were festering conflicts exacerbated by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and illicit arms trafficking across borders. He called on Member States to plug the loopholes through which arms used by terrorists were acquired.
The representative of Thailand, who observed that a number of United Nations departments and offices were dealing with the issue of terrorism, with perhaps overlapping mandates, suggested exploring the idea of setting up a single office, such as a High Commissioner on Counter-Terrorism.
Also speaking in the debate were the representatives of Maldives, Philippines, Morocco, Guatemala, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Myanmar, Liechtenstein, Suriname (on behalf of CARICOM), Nepal, Jordan, Congo, Canada, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, New Zealand, Syria, South Africa, Venezuela, Israel, Mali, Ethiopia, United States, Armenia, Oman and Cameroon. The Observer for Palestine also made a statement.
The United States, Venezuela and Cuba spoke in right of reply.
The Committee will meet next at a date to be announced.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to continue its discussion of measures to eliminate international terrorism. Specifically, the Committee is considering outstanding issues holding up finalization of a comprehensive convention on terrorism that would augment and fill in gaps left by the 13 other specific counter-terrorism treaties. (For further information, see Press Release GA/L/3275 of 6 October.)
MOHAMED LATHEEF (Maldives) said the recent spate of terrorist acts highlighted the importance of international cooperation in fighting the evil. The fight against terrorism should be accorded high priority and urgency. His country had strengthened its legal framework to counter terrorism, and under its anti-terrorism law of 1990 no terrorists could find safe haven in the country. Maldives was a party to several regional and international counter-terrorism conventions. He said small States like his, with limited human and financial resources, should be assisted to build their institutional capacity to fight terrorism. Regional cooperation could play, and was playing, a very important role in combating terrorism. The Maldives believed that increased consultation and cooperation was essential for effective security arrangements and legal frameworks to fight the scourge. It welcomed the entry into force of the South Asia Regional Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. He urged consensus on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism now before the Committee and expressed hope for its adoption during the current General Assembly session.
LAURO L. BAJA (Philippines) said the country had negotiated both bilateral and trilateral cooperative agreements -- ranging from information exchange to border security patrols -- with member countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and its dialogue partners in interdicting terrorists. Terrorists must be denied safe haven and funding. The recently adopted International Convention for the Suppression of All Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which the Philippines had signed, was a symbol that Member States could resolve differences and find common ground to pursue a worthy goal. It was incumbent on them to find that common ground for the sake of humanity. The United Nations should remain at the forefront in the fight against terror and its Member States should also remain steadfast, united in the common goal to rid the world of the scourge.
KARIM MEDREK (Morocco) said the United Nations was the appropriate venue for developing a coordinated response to combating terrorism. It was important to spare no effort in reaching agreement on finalizing the comprehensive convention, which would add to the existing sectoral conventions. The convention should include a legal and universally agreed definition of terrorism. To effectively combat terrorism, there must be determined action on the part of all. Each country must make a contribution. There had to be a comprehensive, coordinated strategy at the national, regional and international levels, with full respect for international and humanitarian law. Terrorism had its roots in xenophobia, intolerance and other forms of fanaticism. Morocco had been a victim of terrorist acts in May 2003. He then reviewed the recent national legislative counter-terrorism efforts his Government had undertaken.
ROBERTO LAVALLE-VALDÉS (Guatemala) said that terrorists could enjoy some sympathy from certain sectors of the public. They could also receive financial assistance through organizations that had been legally formed. International terrorism had connections with organized crime. Numerous texts on terrorism had been adopted on the international and regional levels. Notably, none of them contained a satisfactory and uniform definition of terrorism. This resulted in a gap in the legal framework. Guatemala would spare no effort in contributing to the efforts to eliminate international terrorism.
YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said the fight against terrorism could be successful if its breeding grounds, such as extremism, aggressive separatism, organized crime, drug trafficking, money-laundering and proliferation of small arms, were eliminated. Political will and determination should lead the work of the General Assembly, especially the Sixth Committee, to reach the common goal of finalizing the draft text on the comprehensive international convention on terrorism. His delegation was convinced that a consensus could help guarantee that achievement. His country had acceded to all international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols and had undertaken measures to bring domestic legislation in line with them. It had also reinforced regional cooperation in combating terrorism.
It attached significant importance to the security of energy and transport corridors crossing its region from cross-border threats, including terrorism. It was actively involved in strengthening regional cooperation, such as within the GUAM group of States (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova). It was also actively involved in various counter-terrorism activities within organizations and regional bodies, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Southern Eastern Cooperative Initiative.
YASSER AWAD AL-ABDULLA (Qatar) said his country condemned terrorism in all its forms, and that international cooperation and commitment was required to deal with the scourge. The fight must be guided by principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and humanitarian law. The root causes of terrorism should be analysed and attacked. He condemned double standards which associated terrorism with a particular religion. His country was doing all it could to combat terrorism and urged consensus in developing a definition for terrorism and self-determination. Qatar supported the holding of an international conference on the subject under United Nations auspices. He also called for dialogue among civilizations. Qatar was a party to a number of counter-terrorism statutes, and was implementing Security Council resolutions on the subject.
ITTIPORN BOONPRACONG (Thailand) said it was high time that the international community redoubled its efforts and reoriented its strategy in dealing with terrorism. Thailand supported the convening of a special session of the General Assembly that could enhance cooperation and solidify United Nations activities against international terrorism. Noting that a number of United Nations departments and offices were dealing with the issue, with perhaps overlapping mandates, he said setting up a single office, such as a High Commissioner on Counter-Terrorism might be worth exploring. He expressed the hope that a spirit of cooperation and compromise would prevail in the difficult task of achieving a solution on the definition of terrorism.
U AUNG THAN SOE (Myanmar) said that as a victim itself of terrorism, Myanmar condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. He reviewed his Government's counter-terrorism activities at the national, regional and international levels. Myanmar had acceded to 10 of the counter-terrorism treaties, he said, and was a signatory to one other. In addition, among other acts, the Government had implemented a money-laundering law. He believed that measures taken against terrorism should be in conformity with international law, particularly the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.
SIMEON ADEKANYE (Nigeria) said that in combating terrorism, adequate measures must be put in place to ensure that human rights, due process and the rule of law were not compromised. In implementing anti-terrorism measures, the relevant committees should adequately consult with the authorities of affected States. Maximum care should also be taken to ensure that such implementation did not work against national socio-economic interests. He again called for clear guidelines for the listing and de-listing of persons and entities alleged to be associated with terrorist groups. Efforts to fight terrorism should go hand in hand with the determination to identify and adequately address those factors upon which terrorism feeds, he said. Some of the root causes included festering conflicts exacerbated by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and illicit arms trafficking across borders. Unemployment and poverty also contributed, he added, calling for urgent implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and the Monterrey Consensus. He also called on Member States to plug the loopholes through which arms used by terrorists were acquired.
STEFAN BARRIGA (Liechtenstein) said his country had repeatedly stressed the need for increased cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the need to respect human rights and due process standards, in particular when action was taken at the multilateral level with limited judicial recourse for individuals. A more sober approach to the Committee's task on a comprehensive convention would be helpful in the search for agreement. The convention would mainly fill in the gaps in the sectoral conventions. Virtually all acts which were commonly considered terrorist acts were already covered by those treaties, in particular the Convention on Financing of Terrorism and the Convention on Terrorist Bombings. The recently adopted Nuclear Terrorism Convention filled another gap. Yet, the Committee still had to define what amounted to a terrorist act more broadly for the sake of legal clarity, and in order to prevent terrorists from inventing new sophisticated methods of terrorizing societies more quickly than the international community could describe such acts in yet another sectoral convention.
EWALD LIMON (Suriname), speaking for the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), stressed the need for cooperation in addressing the menace of terrorism. It was a common enemy which required a multilateral approach to deal with the scourge. The CARICOM countries remained committed to the fight against terrorism, but as small countries with limited resources, they were faced with increasingly onerous responsibilities of meeting obligations established by various United Nations mandates on terrorism as within the international legal framework. They, therefore, welcomed the call for assistance to small States to meet their Security Council responsibilities made in the recent Outcome Document of the high-level plenary meeting.
He said CARICOM countries would work with other United Nations Member States to implement the provisions of the Outcome Document, guided by the principles of respect for human rights and strict adherence to international law. States should strive to promote dialogue among civilizations and create a conducive environment to advance international cooperation to battle terrorism, as well as to address its root causes.
MADHU RAMAN ACHARYA (Nepal) said his country had suffered terrorism, adding that all forms of terrorism should be dealt with at all levels. The international community must develop responses to terrorism. Nepal condemned terrorism in all its forms and supported United Nations efforts to combat it. He welcomed the adoption last April of the International Convention for the Suppression of all Acts of Terrorism and hoped the draft comprehensive international convention on terrorism, currently being negotiated, would be completed during the current session. He said international cooperation was required to fight terrorism. His country commended the role of the Security Council in that fight, and welcomed the activities of its counter-terrorism committee. Nepal was committed to implementing Security Council anti-terrorism resolutions; it was a party to regional instruments against terrorism and urged further international cooperation in its fight against the problem.
MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) said terrorism should not be tied to a particular religion, and that history had ample examples of terrorist acts committed by individuals with different ideologies, cultures and religions. Understanding the causes of terrorism was crucial in the fight against it. All precautions should be taken to guarantee the respect of human rights and civil liberties in the fight against terrorism. To infringe upon those rights under any pretext or justification would serve the goals of terrorists. Jordan supported the counter-terrorism strategy proposed by the Secretary-General. It hoped that, following the adoption of the Outcome Document, serious efforts would be made to implement the Secretary-General's proposal. The General Assembly and the Security Council should complement their counter-terrorism measures. A more comprehensive framework in any international counter-terrorism strategy should be the General Assembly, he said. A long-term strategy required the conviction of the international community, and not coercion, he said.
Jordan had initiated the necessary process for ratifying the recently adopted International Convention for the Suppression of All Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It supported the proposal of Saudi Arabia for the establishment of an international anti-terrorism centre, as well as Egypt's call for an international conference to deal with terrorism.
LAZARE MAKAYAT-SAFOUESSE (Congo) said there had been much debate on the causes of the evil of terrorism. Some would point to poverty and despair as giving rise to terrorist acts. However, there was no justification for terrorism. By attacking innocent civilians, terrorists attacked the values shared by all. There had been too much debate on the issue. It was time to move on. The place to begin now was with a legal definition of terrorism. The political will existed to overcome disagreements about the definition. He welcomed the initiative of the Secretary-General's five-pillar strategy on terrorism, as well as the contribution of the High-level Panel, and he said those efforts had the potential of revitalizing the work on countering international terrorism. Finalizing the comprehensive convention would require a spirit of flexibility and cooperation on the outstanding issues of the references concerning armed forces and self-determination. He reviewed his Government's national counter-terrorism efforts, including in the money-laundering and terrorist-financing fields.
HUGH ADSETT (Canada) said efforts to combat terrorism could ultimately be successful only if pursued in full compliance with international law, including in particular international human rights and refugee and humanitarian law. Canada supported respect for and defence of human rights as one of the Secretary-General's five pillars, as well as the other four. Canada believed the United Nations must uphold its central role in setting international counter-terrorism standards and coordinating the global fight against terrorism. The United Nations could only do that if it led through action.
SHIN KAK-SOO (Republic of Korea) said his country appreciated the subregional and regional efforts to combat terrorism, because a comprehensive and holistic approach was essential for suppressing the rapidly developing clandestine terrorist networks that exploited the benefits of globalization for their heinous crimes. The comprehensive convention should be a gap-filling instrument. Aspiring to make an all-encompassing definition of terrorism would not only stall the completion of the convention but also distort the relationship between the comprehensive convention and the other 13 existing treaties. He believed the illegal activities of State actors were amply regulated by international law.
DMITRY LOBACH (Russian Federation) said his country was convinced of the need for an effective international response to terrorism which should also respect the principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as other international legal frameworks. The Russian Federation welcomed the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of All Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which it had initiated, and the Security Council resolution 1624 (2005) aimed at suppressing incitement to terrorism. He said the provisions of the Outcome Document adopted at the recent World Summit had helped to bring States closer together with regard to work on the finalization of the draft comprehensive international convention on terrorism. He hoped the appeal of world leaders on the early finalization of the text would encourage States to work to that end. The adoption of the draft instrument during the current session of the General Assembly should be given priority.
He also called for priority attention for the section of the Outcome Document on the adoption of a counter-terrorism strategy. Priority should be given, also, to the Secretary-General's proposal on the subject, with broad participation of all States in its discussion. The principles outlined by the Secretary-General in his proposed strategy should not be considered exhaustive and uncontested.
JANE HOOKER (New Zealand) said her country welcomed the World Summit's call for the adoption of a counter-terrorism strategy without delay, and observed that the United Nations had a central role to play in combating terrorism. The counter-terrorism strategy would be an important additional element to the international community's efforts in that regard. New Zealand remained committed to international and regional counter-terrorism efforts; it had ratified 12 of the 13, and was among the first countries to sign the new International Convention for the Suppression of All Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It was now working on the ratification of the convention.
A particular focus of its regional cooperation was in the Pacific. It hosted an inaugural Pacific Working Group on Terrorism last June as part of its efforts to work with regional partners to enhance legal and operational counter-terrorism infrastructure. The Working Group offered an opportunity for senior counter-terrorism officials from around the Pacific to discuss issues of relevance, and the challenges that remained for their countries to implement international counter-terrorism standards. The report of the Working Group had been endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum Regional Security Committee, and the Group would reconvene next year, she said. New Zealand had offered to assist Forum members to complete their outstanding reporting requirements under Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004).
FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said his country supported the Organization of the Islamic Conference statement made by Yemen, and condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. A common international endeavour was required to combat it. Its causes must be diagnosed and the purposes also defined. He said terrorism should not be confused with the struggle for freedom. Syria welcomed the work done by the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism which had contributed immensely to work on the draft comprehensive convention. The final text should not exclude from its scope the armed forces of States. Syria welcomed the counter-terrorism proposal of the Secretary-General, and said negotiations on it were required. The issue of definition of State terrorism should be included in the discussion.
He said his country had suffered from terrorism, and was doing its utmost to respond to the problem. It had ratified a number of counter-terrorist conventions and protocols and had signed the recent International Convention for the Suppression of All Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Syria supported a consensus on the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism now being discussed by the Working Group.
MOHAMMAD ERFANI AYOOB (Afghanistan) supported the convening of a high-level conference on terrorism to formulate a joint response to terrorism and to pave the way for dialogue, tolerance and understanding among religions, faiths and cultures. Such a conference, upon the adoption of a comprehensive convention, could strengthen international cooperation against terrorism. His country, as one of the main victims of international terrorism, continued to be engaged in the forefront of the campaign against it. Although much had changed in the past four years in Afghanistan, there existed a direct connection between the trafficking of illicit drugs and terrorism. The Government was making progress in adopting measures to combat the production and trafficking of narcotic drugs and he commended the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and its terrorism branch for its initiatives in that regard.
However, Afghanistan continued to face challenges and needed the sustained support of the international community. Terrorists were undermining the democratic process in Afghanistan. "The remnants of the terror campaign, comprising the Taliban, Al-Qaida, and other extremists and fanatics, continue to attack our citizens and threaten our society as they interpret success in Afghanistan as their own defeat", he said. To fight terrorism to the end and to solve the drug problem, Afghanistan had to create jobs for the young and unemployed, to create alternative livelihoods for poor farmers, to promote dialogue and tolerance among different political groups, to provide education, to build hospitals, and, most important, to address human development and human rights, especially protecting the rights of women. "Our struggles will be futile", he said, if the international community falters in helping us defeat terrorists and their extremist and fanatic ideologies in Afghanistan and in the region."
JOAN SCHNEEBERGER (South Africa) said terrorism must be condemned in the strongest terms and without equivocation, and the perpetrators of those crimes must be brought to justice. Strong domestic mechanisms and an international legal framework for cooperation among States was what would eventually yield results in combating terrorism. South Africa was a party to 11 of the 12 original counter-terrorism treaties and was in the process of ratifying the twelfth. On recent domestic developments, she said new legislation equipped law-enforcement agencies to effectively deal with both international and domestic terrorist activities. She added that she was confident the same positive results that were arrived at with the nuclear terrorism convention would prevail with the comprehensive convention.
FERMÍN TORO JIMÉNEZ Venezuela) said it was necessary to distinguish between a terrorist act and an act of self-determination. He expressed condolences to the people of Indonesia saying that he hoped that if the perpetrators of the bombings were discovered in a foreign country, they would be extradited and that Indonesia would not find itself in Venezuela's position. Venezuela, he said, had requested the extradition from the United States of Luis Clement Posada Carriles, who was accused of having participated in the downing of a Cuban airliner that cost the lives of 73 innocent sports players 29 years ago. Venezuela categorically rejected as completely unfounded the decision of the United States to deny extradition on the grounds that he might be tortured. He said his Government had completed many bilateral and regional counter-terrorism agreements and had sent reports to the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee. He said that the principles of the right to self-determination and legitimate struggle were long-standing ones at the United Nations and should be respected in the negotiations on the comprehensive convention.
TAMAR KAPLAN (Israel) said her country supported the goal of concluding a comprehensive convention on terrorism during the current session. She said an agreement on the convention should not come at the cost of diluting the principles which made it an effective tool in the fight against terrorism. It should reflect universal support for the basic legal and moral principle that the murder of the innocent could never be justified by the furtherance of political or ideological goals. Israel urged all States to oppose any proposal that had the effect of creating a pretext for justifying or excusing terrorist activity, or providing terrorist groups with an outlet for casting their atrocities in a positive or acceptable light.
She said while terrorism posed difficult questions for every country, it presented democracies with almost insurmountable challenges. The desire to conduct the fight against terror within limits of international law and not in a normative vacuum could create excruciating dilemmas. Democracies should fight terrorism with one arm tied behind their backs, with the faith that they would ultimately prevail, she said. They must strike a difficult and sensitive balance between two conflicting principles. No society should allow terrorist organizations to cynically exploit its democratic institutions, she said, adding that no terrorist could claim legitimacy or recognition simply by claiming to be democratically elected. In confronting terrorism, she said, it was important to remember what was being fought against and what the fight was for.
When the Sixth Committee met again this afternoon, YOUNOUSSA TRAORE (Mali) expressed support for the statement made by Namibia on behalf of the African Group. He urged early conclusion of the draft comprehensive international convention on terrorism. He also expressed his country's support for the Secretary-General's call for a global strategy against terrorism. Mali had ratified most of the regional and international instruments on terrorism. There should be a clear distinction between the fight against terrorism and the self-determination of peoples. He noted that some small countries were vulnerable to terrorist attacks and needed international assistance to combat it. He said his country was among those States.
SEIFESELASSIE LEMMA KIDANE (Ethiopia) applauded the continued leading role of the United Nations in the global war on terrorism, and supported its various conventions and protocols. He said Ethiopia also strongly supported the Security Council in its responses to the global menace, and continued to play its part in implementing the Council's counter-terrorism resolution 1373 (2001). Ethiopia also welcomed the Secretary-General's counter-terrorism strategy. He said the scourge of poverty, underdevelopment and political oppression were the main sources of terrorism. In Africa, those factors of failed States had significantly contributed to the germination and spread of terrorist activities, in addition to serving as havens for terrorists. It was high time the international community paid more attention the plight of the continent.
Ethiopia encouraged the donor community to commit more resources for regional counter-terrorism initiatives. It welcomed the support being given to the African Union and subregional organizations and would continue to play a responsible role in them. Ethiopia strongly believed that the finalization of the draft comprehensive international convention on terrorism would close the legal gaps that existed, as well as the conceptual and legal gaps that divided Member States. Its adoption would provide strong impetus to the counter-terrorism efforts at international and national levels. In line with the expressed will of the Outcome Document of the high-level Summit, he said States must show greater flexibility and the political will to finalize the draft instrument.
ROBERT O'BRIEN (United States), recalling statements of the United States President, said a global strategy against terrorism should have clear objectives, including removing terrorist leadership and eliminating terrorist safe havens. The safe havens included ungoverned areas that provided operational enclaves, or the virtual safe haven of cyberspace that facilitated terrorist communications, coordination and recruitment. Those objectives and the strategy proposed by the Secretary-General could form the foundation for a prevention strategy that acted against -- rather than reacted to -- the terrorist threat, he said. In developing a comprehensive strategy, he said there must be better coordination between Member States and all areas of the Organization that had a counter-terrorism mandate, including the United Nations specialized agencies, which should play a greater role in advancing the fight against terrorism.
He said the opportunity should not be missed to conclude the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, adding that world leaders at their Summit had paved the way for that. Now was the time to send a strong united message against those who committed terrorist acts. Member States should not fail to meet the challenge given by the leaders. The United States would strive towards that end, he said. It was prepared to accept the operative paragraphs set forth in the consolidated text, and to discuss the inclusion of a preambular paragraph concerning protection of the principle of self-determination.
He said the disagreement over how to deal with that issue should no longer prevent adoption of the convention. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the bombings in London and Moscow subways or in Bali restaurants were not aimed at advancing self-determination or national liberation. He said those criminal acts were perpetrated not by peoples in pursuit of self-determination but rather by a globalized insurgency that aimed at overthrowing the existing international system. Not one Government represented at the meeting was safe from that objective. As people seeking self-determination moved closer to achieving their aspirations, he said the international community should not sully those aspirations by making that theme the central issue that dominated the debate about terrorism.
ARMEN MARTIROSYAN (Armenia) said that her country was fully committed to the international fight against terrorism and had offered its military and strategic assistance towards that end. It had signed and was implementing the United Nations and the Council of Europe anti-terrorism conventions. It had successfully cooperated with the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee established under resolution 1373. It had also started work on the Council's recent resolution 1540 which aimed at suppressing incitement to terrorism. It had already presented its first report to the Committee established under the resolution.
Armenia had placed special emphasis on improving its national legislation to better address the possible threats of arms smuggling, trafficking and money-laundering. Whatever the causes, she said, the actions of terrorists could never be justified. Its root causes should, however, be addressed. She said the United Nations should expand its activities in the field of economic development and poverty eradication, since they were the strategic battlefields in the war against terrorism.
NASEA AL-MABSALI (Oman) said terrorism had become multidimensional in nature. He reviewed his country's domestic efforts on the national, regional and international levels. Oman had joined 10 of the counter-terrorism conventions and several of the regional agreements, and had established a national commission to combat terrorism.
The Government had also undertaken a number of measures to curb financing of terrorism, including money-laundering activities. Moreover, terrorist acts were severely punished under the criminal code. As to the negotiations on the comprehensive convention, there should be respect for the long held principle of the right to self-determination and legitimate struggle. Attention should also been given to the root causes that had led to an upsurge in that type of violence.
IYA TIDJANI (Cameroon) supported the central role of the United Nations in the fight against terrorism. No reason nor cause could justify or excuse terrorism. The victims of terrorism would be honoured not by statements but by deeds. The fight against international terrorism must be conducted with respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. Cameroon supported the Secretary-General's five-pillar strategy. He also supported the convening of a high-level conference to strengthen international cooperation and develop clear strategies and mobilization efforts against terrorism. He called for greater inter-State cooperation and technical assistance for capacity-building for those that needed it. Given the shared, common threat of terrorism, helping developing States was not a question of generosity given the shared threat.
SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, said that the condemnation of terrorism should not in any manner undermine the legitimate aright of peoples under foreign occupation to struggle for their right to self-determination, as recognized by international law. She observed that the draft comprehensive international convention on terrorism should in no way confuse State and non-State actors in armed conflict. It should ensure the respect of the Geneva Conventions in all circumstances and there should be no exemption, whatsoever, from those obligations under the pretext of the fight against terrorism.
She said that the combat against terrorism should also conform to international law and international humanitarian law. It should be conducted within the spirit of democratic values with due respect for fundamental freedoms enshrined in relevant international conventions. All efforts to combat terrorism should strictly adhere to the rule of law and the restoration of justice.
SOMAIA S. BARGHOUTI, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, said that the condemnation of terrorism should not in any manner undermine the legitimate right of peoples under foreign occupation to struggle for their right to self-determination, as recognized by international law. She observed that the draft comprehensive international convention on terrorism should in no way confuse State and non-State actors in armed conflict. It should ensure the respect of the Geneva Conventions in all circumstances and there should be no exemption, whatsoever, from those obligations under the pretext of the fight against terrorism.
She said that the combat against terrorism should also conform to international law and international humanitarian law. It should be conducted within the spirit of democratic values with due respect for fundamental freedoms enshrined in relevant international conventions. All efforts to combat terrorism should strictly adhere to the rule of law and the restoration of justice.
Rights of Reply
The delegate of the United States, speaking in right of reply to statements from Venezuela and Cuba referring to Luis Posada Carriles, said that Mr. Carriles had been detained on 17 May after entering the United States illegally. He remained in the custody of United States Immigration while his case was being processed. The delegations of Venezuela and Cuba had been so critical because they were frustrated that they could not dictate the outcome of the United States judicial process.
It was not the custom to publicly discuss extradition cases, he said, but since Venezuela had referred to the extradition request he would say that the request was currently under review by United States authorities and would be considered in light of the relevant bilateral and other applicable treaties. As to the reference by the Cuban delegation to the United States court decision on the five Cubans accused of espionage and murder, among other charges, again it was a matter of frustration for the Cubans that they could not dictate the outcome of the case. It was an example of the way the law operated where the judiciary was separate from the executive branch, the process where independent courts interpreted and applied the law.
The delegate for Venezuela, exercising right of reply, said the reasoning put forward by the United States in no way explained the refusal for extradition.
The delegate for Cuba, speaking in right of reply, said the delegate of the United States spoke slander and lies against Cuba. His answer had no foundation in truth. Was it or was it not true that President Bush was protecting Luis Posada Carriles? Was it true that for more than forty years the United States had protected anti-Cuban terrorists in Miami? The government that kept pretending it was at the forefront of the fight against terrorism protected the international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles who caused the death of many Cubans. The United States was not entitled to give speeches to anyone else about human rights, given how it treated prisoners of war at Guantánamo and in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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