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Homeland Security

16 November 2005

U.S. Cites Importance of Inter-American Anti-Terror Convention

Ambassador Maisto says pact "central" to region's efforts to fight terrorism

By Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- The Bush administration says its ratification of an inter-American convention against terrorism reaffirms the high priority the United States places in fighting terrorism in the Western Hemisphere.

At a November 15 ceremony, U.S. officials formally deposited the instruments of ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), with the United States thereby becoming the 14th state in the Americas to ratify the measure.  The United States will become a party to the convention in 30 days.  The OAS General Assembly adopted the convention in June 2002 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

John Maisto, U.S. permanent representative to the OAS, said at the ratification ceremony that the convention is "central" to the region's collaborative effort to fight terrorism.  Among the highest priorities for the United States in the fight against terrorism is the long-term "institutional stability" of the OAS convention, he added.

"Together, we can defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever, and for whatever reason," said Maisto.

He added that the "democratic nations of this hemisphere are engaged in a global campaign to combat terrorism" and he pointed to the convention as an "outstanding -- perhaps the best -- example of a region pulling together to defend itself, to defend its democratic way of life, and to defend its freedom to live and to prosper peacefully -- all shared values among OAS member states."

Maisto applauded those OAS states that have pledged "resources and manpower to sustain" the convention through its formative period, "helping it to emerge as a premier instrument for improving our states' capabilities to address the terrorist threat."

The U.S. State Department said in a November 15 fact sheet about the ratification that the convention is a "powerful indication" of the resolve by the countries of the Americas "to fight terrorism in all its forms." (See fact sheet.)

The United States signed the convention in June 2002, but U.S. Senate approval was needed before the United States could ratify the Western Hemisphere counterterrorism measure.  The Senate approved the pact October 7, and President Bush signed the instrument of ratification for the convention November 2.

OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza hailed the U.S. ratification of the convention, saying at the November 15 ceremony that the action "is going to be a big boost" for fighting terrorism in the Americas.

Insulza urged OAS member states to continue striving "to keep terrorism out of our hemisphere."

The text of Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism is available on the OAS Web site.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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