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15 March 2004

Vienna Conference Calls for Greater Anti-Terrorism Cooperation

Declaration issued at U.N.-OSCE meeting supports strengthening common defenses

A declaration issued at the end of an international conference in Vienna March 11-12 calls for greater cooperation among international, regional and sub-regional organizations to counter terrorism.

The conference was co-hosted by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The declaration reaffirms the central role of the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) in fighting global terrorism and also calls for more assistance to help U.N. members implement anti-terrorism conventions.

OSCE Secretary General Jan Kubis said the March 11 bomb attacks in Madrid "grimly demonstrated that the global threat of terrorism remains all too real."

The CTC was established by U.N. Resolution 1373 on September 28, 2001, in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. The committee membership includes all 15 members of the U.N. Security Council. More information is available at http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/committees/1373/mandate.html.

Following is an OSCE press release:

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Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
12 March 2004

UN, OSCE AGREE TO EXPAND JOINT COUNTER-TERRORISM ACTIVITIES

VIENNA, 12 March 2004 - A two-day counter-terrorism meeting in Vienna ended on Friday with a call for greater co-operation between international, regional and sub-regional organizations in strengthening common defences against terrorism.

The meeting, co-hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), adopted a Vienna Declaration, reaffirming the central role of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) in the global effort to combat terrorism.

The Declaration acknowledges the need to provide assistance to a large number of member states of the United Nations to enable them to implement the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) and 12 anti-terrorism conventions.

The document calls for the promotion of best practices and model laws and the provision of technical, financial, regulatory, legislative and other assistance programmes.

"What we need is serious, active, efficient and practical international co-operation, not co-operation on paper," CTC Chairman, Ambassador Inocencio Arias of Spain, said at a press briefing. "Full implementation of the existing UN conventions is vital in diminishing the terrorist threat."

Asked if better international co-operation could have prevented Thursday s bomb attacks in Madrid, Ambassador Arias replied: "Not for sure. Even with international co-operation, one can prevent terrorists 49 times. Maybe they succeed the fiftieth time." But effective international co-operation could help to reduce terrorist activity significantly. OSCE Secretary General Jan Kubis said Thursday's bomb attacks in Madrid "grimly demonstrated that the global threat of terrorism remains all too real."

"We have one goal - security - and must be flexible in our approach to adapt our efforts to meet new and emerging threats. Our actions must speak, not just our words," he said.

The Vienna Declaration specifies several areas for further co-operation in fighting terrorism:

- co-ordination and exchange of information to meet the capacity-building needs of member states

- a comprehensive compilation of assistance programmes in order to avoid duplication and overlap in the provision of technical assistance

- joint technical assistance programmes and visits to member states requesting help

- provision of assistance information to CTC

- joint efforts in focusing anti-terrorism action plans in line with the targets and priorities of Resolution 1371

- intensified encouragement to member states to ratify and implement the 12 anti-terrorism conventions and protocols.

Participants agreed to hold a follow-up meeting on the Vienna Declaration within six months and accepted an invitation from the League of Arab States to host that meeting in Cairo.

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