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Public debate on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts
(New York, October 4 2002)
Statement by Ambassador Andres Franco, Deputy Permanent Representative of Colombia
I congratulate you, Sir, on assuming your new responsibilities. I also commend Ambassador Tafrov for his work last month.
I wish to convey the apologies of Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the Vice-Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), who, for reasons beyond his control, is unable to be present here today.
We appreciate the work and leadership of Ambassador Greenstock in his capacity as Chairman of the CTC and thank him for his comments today, which serve to elucidate the current political standing of this issue in the Security Council. My delegation associates itself with the statement to be made by the representative of Costa Rica on behalf of the States members of the Rio Group.
In response to your invitation, Sir, I take this opportunity to offer some thoughts on the role of the CTC on the basis of six general questions.
First, what is the added value of the CTC?
I feel that the Committee's greatest contribution has been to help forge a global and uniform cooperation framework to combat terrorism. Today, we, as members of the international community, are duty-bound to comply with certain minimum, globally accepted standards, as defined in imperative terms in resolution 1373 (2001). The CTC has done a great deal of work in information-gathering and follow-up. It has succeeded in persuading the great majority of States to adjust their internal structures to the requirements of resolution 1373 (2001) and has arranged assistance for others that have requested such help in complying with the Security Council's requirements.
Second, what results has the CTC achieved in the fight against terrorism?
The CTC has achieved many positive results. We attach tremendous importance to its successes in the area of cooperation. We sincerely applaud the constructive spirit in which States have faced up to their responsibilities. However, these achievements can be regarded neither as final objectives in and of themselves, nor as points of arrival. They are simply points of departure. They are a contribution that has made it possible to breathe juridical life into a set of national and international instruments and machinery that have established more conducive environment to combat terrorism. Subsequent action will allow the achievement of more tangible results aimed at eradicating the direst threat to international peace and security.
Third, what is the greatest risk of the CTC?
The greatest risk of the Committee, in our opinion, lies in the possibility that States may believe that complying with it is tantamount to accomplishing the fight against terrorism. This is a very dangerous impression. A country receives a certificate of good conduct from the experts and believes that this signals the end of its work. Another risk is that the reporting mechanism may become exhausted. We are gradually moving in that direction and there is an urgent need to review the scope of the challenges and the proportionality of our response.
Fourth, what will the major challenges to the CTC be in the future?
In our opinion, the greatest challenge to the CTC is to develop actions and decisions specifically targeting States, individuals or organizations that are directly or indirectly involved in terrorist activities. In other words, we must move from the general framework of cooperation to its practical application through the consideration of specific cases. In order to do this, we feel that the CTC will require a re-evaluated and, possibly, a modified mandate. Resolution 1390 (2002) could serve as the initial frame of reference for that application. In cases in which there is consensus among the 15 members of the Committee, terrorism in specific regions of the world could be another specific sphere of application. Although we acknowledge the great progress achieved by the CTC, we believe that the time has come to consider positively the elaboration of specific lists of terrorist individuals and groups in order to implement resolution 1373 (2001) with full force. The CTC must draw specific distinctions between given cases if it does not wish, in the medium term, to become a body whose main working mechanism has been exhausted.
Fifth, should we have the CTC operate like a sanctions committee?
We definitely should not. Sanctions committees and the CTC are fundamentally different animals. While the former have specific targets that are the subject of sanctions aimed at inducing changes in conduct, generally in a given territory, the latter, with its current mandate, is establishing a global framework of cooperation that is binding on all States. That is why we must be very cautious with the comparisons that are frequently made between the CTC and the sanctions committees, as if they were the same thing. The functioning of each must be considered on its own terms.
Sixth, how can we ensure effective cooperation with the Committee established under resolution 1267 (1999)?
This is an area in which we have not yet established genuine points of contact and exchange. In an ideal world of effective cooperation, the CTC's existence would contribute to the effectiveness of the work of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999). On 30 September 2002, during the informal consultations devoted to a political review of the work of that Committee, we sought to draw the attention of Council members to this. But it is clear that there is still a gap between the cooperation framework set up by the CTC and its effective application to specific cases, including the areas covered by the Committee established under resolution 1267 (1999).