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Public debate on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

(New York, April 15 2002)

Statement by Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, Permanent Representative of Colombia



My delegation associates itself with the statement to be made on behalf of the Rio Group by the Ambassador of Costa Rica.

I wish to begin by thanking Ambassador Greenstock for his briefing in his capacity as Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and for his tireless efforts to maintain standing relations with Member States and various bodies and forums on our behalf. This is an invaluable task to which he has been very dedicated.

Relations with regional organizations are a matter of priority for the CTC. The exchange of experiences that the Committee initiated with the Organization of American States, among others, has allowed it to familiarize itself with some of the activities being undertaken at the hemispheric level and with the instruments that have been adopted effectively to counter terrorism. It is therefore necessary for the Committee to strengthen its relations with such bodies, as indicated in the briefing.

In the next phase, the Committee will have to embrace a broader vision that encompasses existing regional accords on counter-terrorism measures with a view to ensuring regional security. Currently, national reports are evaluated without being explicitly placed in a regional context.

We believe that the CTC's competence allows and requires it to utilize the instruments at its disposal, such as the group of experts, the technical assistance directory and the so-called trust fund, inter alia, so as to maintain a fluid dialogue with regional organizations. At the same time, it must establish which of the counter-terrorism tools available to it are being truly effective at the regional level and, thus, having a national effect.

My delegation feels that this does not imply that the CTC may interfere in the functions of regional agencies, thereby weakening their autonomy and independence. On the contrary, it strengthens links with such organizations by sharing information, establishing effective cooperative mechanisms and activities for technical and financial assistance to counter terrorism, adopting effective legal and governmental measures and strengthening border controls, in compliance with the international commitments of States to ratifying international conventions adopted by the United Nations to eradicate terrorism.

In order to facilitate the technical and financial assistance required by Member States, it is undoubtedly important that the team of experts and the technical assistance directory be established, all of which is currently being undertaken by the Committee. In this connection, we must stress the quality and competence of the group of experts, to which a great deal of the success of the most recent phase was due. We also urge that obstacles be overcome to the speedy appointment of the expert in charge of promoting relations with organizations and States and of offering the technical and financial assistance necessary to combat terrorism. I also wish to stress the importance of an effective and operative trust fund provided with the financial wherewithal to offer the technical assistance that States require in order to implement resolution 1373 (2001).

The results obtained by the Committee over the first six months of its operations are essentially intangible or not readily apparent with respect to the original objective of raising the standards of States in their struggle against terrorism. However, an analysis of the reports submitted by States and of the reaction of regional organizations and States to the requirements set out in resolution 1373 (2001) undoubtedly reveals that the objective set out therein is beginning to be attained.

That is important because, in many cases, we must build where there was previously nothing. What is essential, however, is that, given the provisions of resolution 1373 (2001) and the establishment of the CTC itself, each State be able to show some concrete and effective results in its struggle against terrorism and that the CTC demonstrate that it is acting in a global crusade to counter the gravest threat facing humankind early in the new century. As Ambassador Mahbubani pointed out, this is all very significant.

I conclude by appealing that we remain alert to terrorism, which gives no quarter, is relentless and is already awaiting the opportunity, the right time and the right place to demonstrate its power to destroy and to sow fear and confusion among the people.


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