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Homeland Security

Security Council hears call for increased global cooperation to fight terrorism

23 July The United Nations Security Council held an open meeting today to hear the latest 90-day report from its Counter-terrorism Committee (CTC), which called for increased cooperation with international organizations to keep nuclear, chemical, biological and other deadly materials out of terrorists' hands.

Briefing the 15-member body, CTC chairman and current Council President for July, Ambassador Inocencio Arias of Spain, said the battle against terrorism would be long and there would be no short cuts. At the same time, counter-terrorism measures must be in accord with international law and all actions must be done with legitimacy, with reason and within the law, he added.

Ambassador Arias said two challenges faced the CTC, which he called the tool of the international community with the greatest scope available for combating terrorism. The first was technical aid to Member States, in which the Committee must play a greater part in promoting and coordinating available international assistance.

The second consisted of developing closer links with international, regional and sub-regional organizations, he said. On 6 March, a plan of action had been adopted for that purpose, and the Committee had sought contacts with several organizations. On 7 October, a follow-up meeting would be held.

Referring to a CTC meeting in May with representatives of the World Customs Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Interpol, the report says: "The meeting highlighted the importance of counter-terrorism efforts in imposing strict controls on nuclear, chemical, biological and other deadly materials and of denying terrorist groups and organizations access thereto.

"The Committee will continue dealing with the issue in order to identify the best way of helping to prevent this obvious threat to international peace and security from materializing," it adds.

The Committee was created in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States to monitor Security Council resolution 1373, which called on Member States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, refrain from providing any support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support and commit such acts.

Mr. Arias said that in the one-and-a-half years since then, a tremendous amount of work had been done. In September 2001, only two States were parties to all 12 Conventions and Protocols regarding international terrorism, but by June 2003, there were over 40 parties. The Committee had received 385 reports from States pertaining to measures contained in resolution 1373, and had worked intensely in the field of technical assistance.

In addition to Mr. Arias, the other 14 members of the Council took the floor during the discussion along with the representatives of 10 other UN Member States.

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