6 March 2006
Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism Concludes Current Session
Although Consensus Not Reached, Chairman Expresses Hope for Future Agreement on Comprehensive Convention
NEW YORK, 3 February (UN Headquarters) -- Although no consensus had been reached on a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism in the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210, the "strong resolve" shown by all delegations to continue the negotiation process was particularly encouraging, Chairman Roham Perera (Sri Lanka) said today at the close of the Committee's tenth session.
Certain innovative approaches had been suggested during the week-long session, and it was clear that further consultations were necessary to determine their viability, he said in closing remarks. "While complex issues remain to be solved, I have full faith that all delegations shall do their utmost to bridge the existing gaps and reach a comprehensive consensus solution during the coming period."
"Our task is not only to respond to the calls of the 2005 World Summit Outcome, but to fulfil our collective responsibility to provide a necessary legal framework for combating the scourge of international terrorism", Mr. Perera continued. "It is, therefore, essential that we actively maintain the consultative process in order to reach a consensus on the text."
The Ad Hoc Committee adopted its draft report on the session, introduced by the Ad Hoc Committee's Rapporteur, Lublin Dilja (Albania), which also contained two annexes.
Part A of annex I reproduced an informal summary of the informal consultations and bilateral contacts concerning the draft comprehensive convention, while Part B reproduced an informal summary of the informal consultations of convening a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations.
Annex II contained a proposal from Argentina for consideration by the Committee regarding a preambular paragraph to the draft comprehensive convention on the right to self-determination of peoples.
During the meeting, the representatives of Pakistan and Syria objected to the fact that the Chair's summary of bilateral consultations had incorporated some, but not all, ideas submitted. The bilateral consultations had lacked transparency.
The representative of Colombia said the process of bilateral consultations, as had been used during the current session, should be complementary to the normal process of consultations where delegations could speak openly. He hoped that, in the future, a more transparent process would be used.
Other short statements were made by the representatives of Switzerland, Morocco, Egypt, Venezuela, Bolivia, Sierra Leone, Argentina, Mexico and Uruguay.
The draft of the comprehensive convention against international terrorism is almost complete. The draft convention contains, in its article 2, a common, overall criminal law definition of terrorist acts. The current discussions revolve around the main outstanding issue relating to the scope of application of the convention, contained in draft article 18.
The Ad Hoc Committee as a negotiating framework has been functioning for 10 years and has already concluded texts of three recent global counter-terrorism conventions adopted by the General Assembly: the 1997 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The existing 13 international counter-terrorism conventions, of which the three conventions mentioned above form part, already constitute a very strong legal basis for combating terrorism.
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