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Homeland Security

Battle against Al-Qaida leaves no room for complacency - chair of UN panel

29 July The battle against the Al-Qaida terrorist organization leaves no room for complacency and countries must seek out operatives trained in making crude forms of weapons of mass destruction as well as vet charitable foundations used as conduits for money, the United Nations Security Council was told today.

Despite some successes against Al-Qaida, including the arrest of senior leaders, recent bombings in Saudi Arabia, the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, Morocco, Yemen and Afghanistan underscored the dangers and challenges ahead, Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile, chairman of the Council's committee overseeing sanctions imposed against the Taliban, Al-Qaida and their associates, said in an open briefing to the 15-member body.

Mr. Muñoz noted that the possible presence of Al-Qaida associates within their territory appeared to be a stigma to some states, and detailed information was therefore not being presented to the committee. Overall response in submitting reports had been disappointing - to date 64 reports had been received, barely 30 per cent of UN members.

According to available information, individuals or entities associated with Al-Qaida were believed to be active in some way in a significant number of states that had not yet submitted a report, he added.

A continuing concern, he said, involved the many Al-Qaida operatives who had received training in such activities as making improvised explosive devices or crude forms of weapons of mass destruction or conducting assassinations. Any such individuals who were known to the authorities should be listed, in order to reduce the opportunity for them to move around freely.

It was also noted that Al-Qaida and the former Taliban rulers in Afghanistan who had protected them were still able to acquire adequate quantities of weapons and explosives.

Regarding terrorist financing, Mr. Muñoz said that as countries improved measures, such as stifling the flow of funds, the emphasis of the international community's efforts must move to much greater control over, and transparency of, the accounting methods of charitable foundations.

The Committee was established in 1999 by Security Council resolution 1267 to report on the sanctions imposed after Usama bin Laden and other Al-Qaida leaders had been indicted in the United States for the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The sanctions included efforts to bring the Al-Qaida leaders to justice and cut off any funding for the terrorist organization.

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