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18 January 2002

UN Security Council Continues Work Against Terrorism

(U.S. says no country can be complacent in anti-terror war) (870)
By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent
United Nations -- The UN Security Council held a day-long session
January 18 to continue the intense discussion that began at the United
Nations just hours after the terrorist attacks on the United States in
September about what each nation can and must do individually and as
part of the world community to fight terrorism.
The focal point of the discussion was the early work of the Council's
Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) which was set up as part of a major
anti-terrorism resolution, resolution 1373, passed on September 28,
2001. The intention of the resolution is to raise the global capacity
to fight terrorism through the individual action of each state. It
does not require the United Nations to set up rules or organizations
to stop terrorists and their supporters, but places the obligation to
take action on member states.
The resolution requires nations, among other things, to criminalize
terrorist activities, freeze the funds and financial assets of
terrorists and their supporters, ban others from making funds
available to terrorists, and deny safe haven to terrorists. The CTC is
to monitor implementation and it set December 27 as the deadline for
states to submit an initial report on what they have done to comply
with the resolution.
Secretary General Kofi Annan said that through the CTC "member states
are for once really using this organization in the way its founders
intended -- as an instrument through which to forge a global defense
against a global threat."
"The United Nations stands foursquare against terrorism no matter what
end it purports to serve," Annan said. "Our urgent business, building
on the excellent work of (CTC), must now be to develop a long-term
strategy to enable all states to undertake the hard steps needed to
defeat terrorism."
The committee's work has already highlighted the close connections
between terrorism and various other activities that the United Nations
has been seeking to repress or at least to bring under control --
organized crime and the illicit traffic in weapons, drugs and other
commodities such as diamonds, the Secretary General pointed out.
Annan noted that many nations lack the capactiy to adopt effective
counter-terrorism measures and are in genuine need of technical and
financial assistance if they are to fulfill their obligations in the
fight against terrorism.
"It is hoped that the CTC will produce a precise inventory of what
assistance programs are needed so that the UN and the Bretton Woods
institutions can design specific projects," the Secretary General
said.
British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, chairman of the
Counter-Terrorism Committee, said that the CTC's aim "is to raise the
average level of government performance against terrorism across the
globe. This means upgrading the capactiy of each nation's legislation
and executive machinery to fight terrorism."
"Every government holds a responsibility for ensuring there is no weak
part of the chain: this is a cardinal element of the process 1373 has
instituted. We must do this together; and everyone has a contribution
to make," Greenstock said.
"Terrorists choose their ports," the British Ambassador said. "If your
neighbor hasn't met the standard, it is a threat to you."
Greenstock reported that 123 states have submitted reports, calling it
"a welcome response which demonstrated the excellent cooperation we
have received."
In the next 90 days, or second phase of its work, the committee will
review and respond to all the reports, giving recommendations on what
legislation or executive measures are needed in each country to ensure
that terrorists cannot operate in its territory.
Greenstock also explained what the CTC is not. "It is not a tribunal
for judging states.....It is not going to define terrorism in a legal
sense, although we will have a fair idea of what is blatant terrorism;
where necessary we will decide by consensus whether an act is
terrorism."
The CTC "has no plan to issue lists of terrorist organizations. If it
cannot settle issues of political controversy, it will submit them
back to the Security Council," said Greenstock.
No country can afford to be complacent in the fight against terrorism,
U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham said.
"The events of September 11 changed the way all of us look at, and
respond to, terrorism. The work of the CTC is an important element in
strengthening international cooperation and in encouraging stronger
efforts by each nation," said Cunningham. "We are all tackling the
difficult but essential job of analyzing our anti-terrorism
capabilities and identifying areas of improvement."
The United States is encouraged by the "roll-up-your-sleeves spirit"
of the committee and the UN member states, Cunningham said. "We must
not lose sight of the utmost urgency of our collective
counter-terrorism effort or lapse into a business-as-usual approach."
The U.S. Ambassador said the United States is offering a broad range
of counter-terrorism assistance programs to help nations improve their
legislation and programs in combating money laundering and financial
crimes, strengthening customs, immigration, extradition, police
science and law enforcement, and stopping illegal arms trafficking.
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
http://usinfo.state.gov)



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