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

(New York, June 27 2002)

Statement by Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, Permanent Representative of Colombia 



Let me also begin by expressing my gratitude for the considerable efforts and great dedication of Ambassador Greenstock as Chairman of the Committee. We would like also to thank him for his briefing. I wish also to say that we endorse the statement that will be made by Ambassador Niehaus of Costa Rica on behalf of the Rio Group.

Colombia recognizes the progress that has been achieved during this first phase of the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and supports the programme of work established for the second phase. My country reiterates the CTC's appeal to all States Members of the Organization to review together and to implement effective and appropriate mechanisms in order to stop those who today are instilling fear in humankind through terrorist acts and threats from achieving their goals.

In this respect, I wish to highlight, as Mexico has done, the very recent adoption in the American continent of the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, which is an effective instrument in the combat against this scourge. This is a welcome sign of the importance and the effectiveness of efforts carried out in a spirit of solidarity by a regional group acting jointly.

It is essential for the CTC to continue to strengthen its relations of cooperation and assistance with international, regional and subregional organizations, as they represent a fundamental instrument in combating terrorism.

In the area of technical and financial assistance, I should like to highlight the importance of the establishment by the CTC of an on-line directory for Member States on the resources and expertise available in the areas covered by the resolution.

This directory has been designed to help, during the second phase - in which the Committee will analyse the reports - those Governments that request information and technical assistance as well as other forms of assistance offered by other States and by Committee experts, in the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001).

In the second phase of processing and analyzing State reports, the Committee must focus its activities and programme of work on priority areas such as the identification by its experts and subcommittee members of the shortcomings of some States in the area of counter-terrorism instruments. Thus recommendations should be proposed as to the measures that should be adopted within a particular State, in particular in the legislative and administrative areas, as well as in the field of law enforcement, in order to suppress the financing of terrorism. We deem very useful the suggestion made by the representative of Singapore regarding the criteria for assessing and evaluating such gaps or shortcomings.

My delegation recognizes the importance and the effectiveness of the measures and actions that have been adopted by the majority of Member States in compliance with resolution 1373 (2001), as well as the activities that have been carried out by some regional organizations to combat terrorism.

However, given present-day events, in particular the serious threats that have been publicly made by terrorist individuals and organizations, such as those relating to actions planned by Al-Qaeda, for example, as well as the numerous terrorist acts being carried out throughout the world, we should reflect on what else can be done in the CTC to prevent terrorism from continuing to sow fear, dread and uncertainty throughout the world, causing countless deaths and the destruction of State infrastructures. For that reason, we must continue to seek out innovative and effective solutions to strengthen national capacities in order to strengthen international cooperation in the area of terrorism.

The answers to these questions should therefore constitute the premises that the Committee should consider during the second phase of its work. It should determine whether or not the measures it is taking are sufficient and if it needs to rethink its actions or reformulate the modalities of its work.

A number of agencies in various countries have warned of the possibility of new and worse operations and attacks by terrorist groups. We must promote actions and create mechanisms in order to address these threats in order to prevent them, or, at least, reduce their severity, and, above all, to avert the serious consequences of such attacks.

For that reason, one objective in the international community's efforts to combat terrorism must be to continue to learn sufficiently about the capacities of, and the methods used by, terrorist organizations, so that we can move from our primarily reactive response - pursuing and capturing terrorists after they have achieved their objectives - to a preventive approach, using key indicators to predict terrorist attacks before they happen.

We know that this is not an easy task. The CTC must continue to move forward and cooperate with regional organizations, Member States and other international or private organizations in the quest for adequate and effective solutions.

The next public debate in this Chamber will give us an opportunity to analyse in greater depth the major challenges posed by terrorism, which require greater efforts on the part of the United Nations.


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