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04 March 2004

U.S. Urges Strengthening of U.N. Counter-Terrorism Committee

Ambassador Negroponte's U.N. Security Council remarks on CTC

The U.N. Security Council must remain at the forefront of the international community's campaign to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said March 4.

In a speech to the Security Council, Negroponte said that the council must act with "a renewed sense of urgency and commitment" to the counter-terrorism effort. He supported proposals to restructure the council's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) support staff which would enable the CTC to provide technical assistance to individual countries as well as international and regional organizations in identifying gaps in counter-terrorism capabilities and implementing changes.

"Finding innovative ways to address the ongoing threat to international peace and security posed by terrorism presents the council with a unique challenge," the ambassador said. "The council must not become complacent in this search."

The council also heard a presentation by Ambassador Inocencio Arias of Spain, who is CTC chairman. He said that the CTC must be restructured so that it can become more proactive in evaluating the implementation of the landmark anti-terrorism resolution and step up efforts to facilitate technical assistance to nations and promote closer cooperation. The restructuring plan calls for a plenary composed of Security Council members who will focus on strategic and policy decision and a bureau of expert and secretariat staff.

Anti-terrorism Resolution 1373 was adopted September 28, 2001. It called on nations to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, and commit acts of terrorism. The resolution also established the CTC to monitor states' compliance with the resolution.

The 15 council members, as well as other nations who spoke during the open meeting, voiced support for strengthening the CTC.

Following is the text of Negroponte's remarks:

(begin transcript)

Statement by Ambassador John D. Negroponte, United States Representative to the United Nations, on the Work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, in the Security Council
March 4, 2004

Thank you very much, Mr. President. I would like to join other members in thanking Ambassador Arias for his report to us this morning, and also to congratulate him for the work that he has done as the chairman of the CTC over the months.

Mr. President, perhaps the most significant contribution by the Security Council to the global campaign against terrorism has been the adoption of Resolution 1373, which established the Counter-Terrorism Committee. Through its capacity-building and global coordination initiatives, the Committee has become a significant element of the worldwide campaign against terrorism. It has helped energize states and organizations around the world to pay more attention to combating terrorism, whether through the adoption of new or the improvement of existing counter-terrorism legislation, or the development and implementation of counter-terrorism action plans. While the Committee has performed admirably, much work remains to be done.

In the two and a half years since the adoption of Resolution 1373, despite the global counter-terrorism effort, the terrorists and their supporters have continued to strike, whether in Bali, Moscow, Casablanca, Riyadh, Baghdad, Istanbul, Haifa, Jerusalem, Karbala, Quetta or elsewhere. Terrorism has continued to spread, raising the specter of further deadly attacks on innocent victims and continuing threats to international peace and security.

The Security Council must remain at the forefront of the international community's campaign to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. To do so, it must act with a renewed sense of urgency and commitment to a sustained and determined effort to defeat this global scourge. It must act as though 9/11 took place yesterday, not more than two years ago. It must not wait for the next major terrorist act to occur to become energized. The Council and its Counter-Terrorism Committee must never forget that so long as a few states are not acting quickly enough to raise their capacity to fight terrorism, we all remain vulnerable.

The Committee has initially responded to the challenge. It has identified not only the difficulties states are having in implementing Resolution 1373, but it also highlighted its own internal structural problems that are preventing the CTC from performing more effectively. It must continue to innovate and evolve.

After months of deliberations, the Committee has agreed that restructuring its support staff is needed to enable the Committee to carry out all of the current and new tasks in its approved work program, particularly in the facilitation of technical assistance and coordination among international, regional, and sub-regional organization. The proposal presented by Chairman Arias, not only reflects the views of all 15 Committee Members, but also takes into account detailed discussions with the Secretariat.

Once the proposed restructuring becomes a reality, the CTC can become more effective in fulfilling its mandate of monitoring states' efforts to implement all of the provisions of Resolution 1373. It will be able to work more closely with states in identifying gaps in their counter-terrorism capabilities and in finding the necessary technical assistance to fill these gaps. In addition, it will expand its efforts to galvanize organizations worldwide to adopt and implement best practices, codes, and standards and ensure that their members are implementing requirements of the resolution. Of course, it will do this while respecting what have become its hallmarks: transparency, cooperation, and even-handedness.

Finding innovative ways to address the ongoing threat to international peace and security posed by terrorism presents the Council with a unique challenge. The Council must not become complacent in this search. It must continue to explore ways to enhance its contribution in this area. The adoption of Resolution 1373 and the creation of the Counter-Terrorism Committee were central elements of the Council's extraordinary response to this unique situation. We view the CTC's restructuring proposal should be viewed as a continuation of this response and as a managerial reform after the experience of 30 months of work. The CTC has fulfilled its responsibility by studying the problem and proposing the solution. The Council must now do its part and take the necessary action to make the proposal a reality.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(end transcript)