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Homeland Security

Lack of reporting hinders work of UN committee on Al-Qaida, Taliban - Chairman

12 January ? More than half of all United Nations Member States have yet to submit reports to a key Security Council committee dealing with Al-Qaida and the Taliban, seriously hindering its ability to provide assessments on the effectiveness of the sanctions against the two groups, the panel Chairman said today.

In his latest briefing to the Council, Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile said that while the so-called 1267 Committee - which oversees sanctions imposed against Al-Qaida and the Taliban - appreciates that many countries have provided the required comprehensive reports, the fact that only 93 of 191 Member States have so far submitted documents presents a severe limitation.

Offering an assessment of what can be gleaned so far from the reports, the Ambassador said the arms embargo appears to be the most difficult measure in the sanctions regime to implement because the possession, manufacture and sale of arms is generally seen as a matter of national security. As such, he said it has been difficult to assess the effectiveness of that crucial measure.

Analysis of the reports also revealed an inconsistency regarding the scope of the arms embargo, he added. Most of the information provided covers conventional arms, leaving open the question of whether the current measures are sufficient to control dual-use technology and other sensitive material that might be used to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Addressing these shortcomings would require a more specific and targeted formulation of the arms embargo to meet the new reality of terrorist warfare by Al-Qaida and the Taliban, including explicit mention of goods and materiel related to weapons of mass destruction, Ambassador Muñoz said.

Terrorism, he stressed, must remain a top international concern as the dimension of the challenge posed by Al-Qaida, in particular, is all too apparent, since terrorist attacks unfortunately continue.

"We need to help ensure that all States continue to focus on the terrorist challenge and that their national counter-terrorist measures encompass appropriate policies and actions," the Ambassador said, adding that this would be the Committee's principal underlying objective for its work in 2004.

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