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"Measures to eliminate international terrorism"

Mesures visant a eliminer le terrorisme international
Intervention au nom de l'Union europeenne prononcee par
Representant permanent de la Belgique aupres des Nations Unies
New York, le 1 octobre 2001

Mr President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the associated countries of Cyprus, Malta and Turkey align themselves with this statement.

Mr President,

The terrorist attacks perpetrated in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania on I I September are an assault not only on the United States, but on all our open, democratic, tolerant and multicultural societies. They are a challenge to the conscience of every human being. The Union condemns with the utmost forcefulness the perpetrators and sponsors of these barbarous acts. The European Union is totally supportive of the American Government and people in the face of these attacks. This condemnation is furthermore unanimous. This has been demonstrated by the resolution 56/01 of the General Assembly and by the resolution 1358 of the Security Council adopted the day after these attacks. The Union and its Member States will be unstinting in their efforts to help identify, bring to justice and punish the perpetrators, sponsors and accomplices of these barbarous acts. The Union will cooperate closely with the United States and the entire International Community to combat international terrorism.

Terrorism, Mr President, is a real challenge to the whole world. To combat it means also to ensure the respect of democracy. The European Council, which met in extraordinary session on 21 September 2001, decided that the fight against terrorism will, more than ever, be a priority objective of the European Union. The Union will step up its action against terrorism through a coordinated and interdisciplinary approach embracing all Union policies. It will ensure that that approach is reconciled with respect for the fundamental freedoms which form the basis of our civilization. Moreover, this fight against terrorism should be coupled with the search for sustainable solutions for human and political dramas that constitutes factors of instability feeding terrorists groups. —

Mr President,

The fight against terrorism will require the broadest possible global coalition. That coalition should be formed under the aegis of the UN, which remains the most appropriate forum for revitalizing and strengthening our coordinated efforts to eliminate international terrorism.

The United Nations and its specialized agencies have, in the past, successfully elaborated a series of sectoral anti terrorist conventions which, taken together, constitute the international legal framework for combating terrorism. In particular, there are 12 conventions which cover specific categories of terrorist acts. The most recent instruments are the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted respectively in 1997 and 1998.

Eradicating international terrorism will be possible only if all countries are fully committed to the fight. Universal accession to anti terrorist conventions is essential. It is therefore essential for all countries to become States Parties to these conventions as a matter of urgency. —

Mr President,

The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism is especially important. Combating the funding of terrorism is a decisive aspect of European policy on terrorism. Energetic international action is required to ensure that the fight is fully effective. The European Union will contribute to the full. To that end, the European Union has decided that all necessary measures will be taken to combat any form of financing of terrorist activities. These measures follow the spirit of the dispositions taken in this regard by the Security Council in its resolution 1373 (2001). The European Council called on the Member States of the European Union to sign and ratify, as a matter of urgency, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Measures will be taken against non-cooperative countries and territories identified by the financial Action Group. —

Mr President,

The international legal framework of anti-terrorist conventions is solid, but it does contain loopholes which must be closed. To that end, the special Sixth Committee Working Group and the Ad Hoc Committee established by Resolution 51/210 were requested by the General Assembly to elaborate a global convention on international terrorism. The European Union wishes to thanks India for having taken the initiative to present a proposal to that end and calls upon all member States to work together to arrive at a satisfactory outcome on the unresolved questions. It underlines, once again, that such a comprehensive convention should bring an added value to the existing sectorial conventions, in particular by filling the gaps while preserving their achievements The European Union also calls on the Member States to conclude the negotiations for the draft Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Mr President,

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, concluded in 2000, as well as its additional Protocols, are an important addition to the fight against terrorism. Although the Convention does not specifically concentrate on terrorism, it deals with financial crime, money laundering and corruption. These wide-ranging provisions will without any doubt assist the international community in its fight against terrorism by preventing and combating criminal activity in support of terrorism. I should like to point out here that all the Member States of the European Union have signed the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. —

Furthermore, we take note of the adoption on September 6 of the Revised Draft Plans of Action for the implementation of the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice, from which a chapter has been dedicated to specific recommendations for action against terrorism, at national and international levels. We support the adoption of these Plans by the General Assembly.

Clearly, Mr President, the implementation of these conventions is just as important as their ratification. The European Union calls on all countries to take the measures necessary to implement these instruments as a matter of urgency. It also asks the Member States of the United Nations to consider possible ways of introducing a mechanism for monitoring their implementation into the United Nations framework. We attach great importance to this kind of monitoring mechanism and we take note with interest of the fact that such an instrument has been integrated in resolution 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001 of the Security Council in order to ensure its full implementation.

In the meantime, the European Union considers it would be useful to give a higher profile to the Secretariat's annual report on the status and implementation of multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements on international terrorism. The European Union intends to ask the Secretariat to publish that report on the United Nations web site. —

Mr President,

In addition to such efforts, the United Nations must continue to explore other ways of combating terrorism. Until now, the emphasis has been, and quite rightly so, on judicial cooperation in prosecuting and extraditing those guilty of terrorist acts in all their aspects. Other forms of cooperation could be envisaged or strengthened, for instance in the field of preventive measures and exchange of information. Furthermore, we are convinced that the integration of all countries into a fair world system of security, prosperity and improved development is the condition for a strong and sustainable community for combating terrorism. The fight against the scourge of terrorism will be all the more effective if it is based on an in-depth political dialogue with all countries and regions of the world. In this regard, conflict prevention should more than ever be a priority on the international agenda.

Mr President,

The prospect of seeing terrorists acquire means of mass destruction is amongst the most terrifying of all. The international community must therefore increase its efforts to intensify cooperation on non-proliferation arrangements for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. —

The European Union, Mr President, considers that strengthening regional cooperation must go hand in hand with strengthening international cooperation. It calls for the urgent reinforcement of regional cooperation in the fight against international terrorism. In that respect, the European Council has adopted a number of measures aimed at reinforcing European policies to combat terrorism in various fields.

Strengthening judicial and police cooperation is a crucial element of European policy to combat terrorism. The Council has agreed to introduce a European arrest warrant and to adopt a common definition of terrorism. Such a warrant will replace the existing extradition arrangements between European Union Member States. The European warrant will allow wanted persons to be handed over directly from one judicial authority to another. Fundamental rights and freedoms are guaranteed. The detailed arrangements of that agreement will be finalized in December 2001.

Mr President,

In parallel to strengthening judicial cooperation, measures have also been taken to reinforce police cooperation. In particular, the European Council has called for identification of presumed terrorists in Europe and of organizations supporting them so as to draw up a common list of terrorist organizations. European Union Member States will also share with Europol, systematically and without delay, all useful information on terrorism. Within Europol, a team of anti terrorism specialists will be set up as soon as possible. —

The European Council has decided that measures should be taken to increase air transport security. They will concern the classification of weapons, the technical training of crews, baggage checks, protection of cockpit access, and controlling the quality of the security measures applied by Member States. In particular, the effective and uniform application of air security measures will be ensured by reciprocal checks which will be set up without delay.

Mr President,

The members of the European Council have appealed to the international community to pursue dialogue and negotiation in all multilateral fora with a view to building, in Europe and elsewhere, a world where peace, tolerance and the rule of law will prevail. In that respect, the Council has stressed the need to fight any nationalist, racist or xenophobic tendencies, and rejects any attempt to equate terrorism with the Arab and Muslim world.

The task awaiting us, Mr President, is of utmost importance. The European Union is convinced that we will be able, all together and with one voice, to pull our efforts and will together in order to realize our goal: to eradicate the scrounge of terrorism in order to preserve humanity as well our common values and liberties, from its odious ravages.

Thank you, Mr President.


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