29 April 2004
Some States Renounce Support for Terrorist Activities
But Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria show little change from previous
Libya and Sudan have taken significant measures to cooperate with
the global war on terrorism, but Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria
have not taken steps to dissociate themselves fully from ties to
terrorists, according to the Department of State's annual international
The Libyan government assured the U.N. Security Council that it
had renounced terrorism, undertook efforts to share intelligence
on terrorist organizations with Western intelligence services,
and moved toward resolving past support of terrorists, according
to the "Patterns of Global Terrorism: 2003" report released
April 29 in Washington.
"In September 2003, Libya addressed the requirements of the
United Nations relating to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, accepting
responsibility for the actions of its officials and agreeing to
a compensation package for the victims' families. As a result,
U.N. sanctions, suspended since 1999, were lifted," the report
The report noted that Libya has been working with the United States
and others in additional areas -- especially in preventing the
spread of weapons of mass destruction -- and has taken significant
steps in these public commitments.
"Sudan's cooperation and information sharing improved markedly,
although areas of concern remained," the report said. "Khartoum
sought to deter terrorists from operating from Sudan and took steps
to strengthen its legal instruments for fighting terrorism."
The liberation of Iraq "removed a regime that had long supported
terrorist groups," the report said. "On 7 May 2003, President
Bush suspended, with respect to Iraq, all sanctions applicable
to state sponsors of terrorism, which had the practical effect
of putting Iraq on a par with non-terrorist states."
The annual report on terrorism said that Cuba, Iran, North Korea,
and Syria have shown little change from previous years.
Following is the report's text on state sponsors of terrorism:
Patterns of Global Terrorism: 2003
Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism
Although several of the seven designated state sponsors of terrorism
-- most notably Libya and Sudan -- took significant steps to cooperate
in the global war on terrorism -- and the liberation of Iraq removed
a regime that had long supported terrorist groups, nevertheless,
the other state sponsors -- Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria
-- did not take all the necessary actions to disassociate themselves
fully from their ties to terrorism in 2003. Although some in this
latter group have improved their performances in some areas, most
have also continued the very actions that led them to be declared
The ousting of Saddam Hussein's regime by Coalition forces removed
a longstanding sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East region.
The president, therefore, suspended on 7 May 2003, all sanctions
against Iraq applicable to state sponsors of terrorism, which had
the practical effect of putting Iraq on a par with non-terrorist
states. However, Iraq became a central front in the global war
on terrorism as Coalition and Iraqi authorities faced numerous
attacks by a disparate mix of former regime elements, criminals,
and some foreign fighters -- including Islamic extremists linked
to Ansar al-Islam, al-Qaida, and Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. Increasingly,
the line between insurgency and terrorism has been blurred by anti-Coalition
attacks that have included suicide car bombings at police stations,
an Italian military police base, and the headquarters of the International
Red Cross. Members of the foreign terrorist group Mujahedin-e-Khalq
(MEK) maintained an active presence in Iraq but were in U.S. custody
by the end of the year. The Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress
(KADEK, now renamed the Kurdistan People's Congress) continued
to attack Turkish targets despite claiming a commitment to nonviolence.
In 2003, the Libyan government reiterated assurances to the U.N.
Security Council that it had renounced terrorism, undertook to
share intelligence on terrorist organizations with Western intelligence
services, and took steps to resolve matters related to its past
support of terrorism. In September 2003, Libya addressed the requirements
of the United Nations relating to the bombing of Pan Am Flight
103, accepting responsibility for the actions of its officials
and agreeing to a compensation package for the victims' families.
As a result, U.N. sanctions, suspended since 1999, were lifted.
Libya also appeared to be trying to resolve a number of the other
claims outstanding for Tripoli-sponsored attacks in the 1980s.
On 19 December 2003, Colonel Qadhafi made a historic decision to
eliminate Libya's weapons of mass destruction programs and missiles
covered by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR); and he
took significant steps to implement this public commitment with
the assistance of the United States, United Kingdom, and relevant
Sudan's cooperation and information sharing improved markedly,
although areas of concern remained. Khartoum sought to deter terrorists
from operating from Sudan and took steps to strengthen its legal
instruments for fighting terrorism.
The performances of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria showed
little change from previous years. Cuba remained opposed to the
U.S.-led Coalition prosecuting the global war on terrorism and
continued to provide support to designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
and to host several terrorists and dozens of fugitives from U.S.
state and federal justice. Cuba allowed Basque Fatherland and Liberty
(ETA) members to reside in the country and provided support and
safe haven to members of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces
(FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Iran remained the
most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2003: Islamic Revolutionary
Guard and Ministry of Intelligence and Security personnel were
involved in planning and support for terrorist acts. Although Iran
detained al-Qaida operatives in 2003, it refused to identify senior
members in custody. Tehran continued to encourage anti-Israel activities,
both operationally and rhetorically, providing logistic support
and training to Lebanese Hizballah and a variety of Palestinian
rejectionist groups. North Korea announced it planned to sign several
antiterrorism conventions but did not take any substantive steps
to cooperate in efforts to combat terrorism. Syria continued to
provide support to Palestinian rejectionist groups and allowed
them to operate out of Syria, albeit with a lower profile after
May 2003. Syria also served as a transshipment point for Iranian
supply of Hizballah in Lebanon, and although Syrian officials have
publicly condemned terrorism, they continue to distinguish between
terrorism and what they view as legitimate resistance against Israel.
Nonetheless, Syria has cooperated with the United States against
al-Qaida and other extremist Islamic terrorist groups and has made
efforts to limit the movement of anti-Coalition fighters into Iraq.
State sponsors of terrorism impede the efforts of the United States
and the international community to fight terrorism. These countries
provide a critical foundation for terrorist groups. Without state
sponsors, terrorist groups would have a much more difficult time
obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they
require to plan and conduct operations. The United States will
continue to insist that these countries end the support they give
to terrorist groups.
State Sponsor: Implications
Designating countries that repeatedly support international terrorism
(that is, placing a country on the terrorism list) imposes four
main sets of U.S. government sanctions:
1. A ban on arms-related exports and sales.
2. Controls over exports of dual-use items, requiring 30-day congressional
notification for goods or services that could significantly enhance
the terrorist-list country's military capability or ability to
3. Prohibitions on economic assistance.
4. Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions,
-- Requiring the United States to oppose loans by the World Bank
and other international financial institutions.
-- Lifting diplomatic immunity to allow families of terrorist
victims to file civil lawsuits in U.S. courts.
-- Denying companies and individuals tax credits for income earned
in terrorist-list countries.
-- Denial of duty-free treatment for goods exported to the United
-- Authority to prohibit any U.S. person from engaging in a financial
transaction with a terrorism-list government without a Treasury
-- Prohibition of Defense Department contracts above $100,000
with companies controlled by terrorist-list states.
Cuba remained opposed to the U.S.-led Coalition prosecuting the
global war on terrorism and actively condemned many associated
U.S. policies and actions throughout 2003. Government-controlled
press reporting about U.S.-led military operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan were consistently critical of the United States and
frequently and baselessly alleged U.S. involvement in violations
of human rights. Government propaganda claimed that those fighting
for self-determination or against foreign occupation are exercising
internationally recognized rights and cannot be accused of terrorism.
Cuba's delegate to the U.N. said terrorism cannot be defined as
including acts by legitimate national liberation movements -- even
though many such groups clearly employ tactics that intentionally
target innocent civilians to advance their political, religious,
or social agendas. In referring to U.S. policy toward Cuba, the
delegate asserted, "acts by states to destabilize other states
is a form of terrorism."
The Cuban government did not extradite nor request the extradition
of suspected terrorists in 2003. Cuba continued to provide support
to designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as well as to host
several terrorists and dozens of fugitives from U.S. justice. The
government refuses to return suspected terrorists to countries
when it alleges that a receiving government could not provide a
fair trial because the charges against the accused are "political." Cuba
has publicly used this argument with respect to a number of fugitives
from U.S. justice, including Joanne Chesimard, wanted for the murder
of a New Jersey State Trooper in 1973. Havana permitted up to 20
ETA members to reside in Cuba and provided some degree of safe
haven and support to members of FARC and the ELN. Bogota was aware
of the arrangement and apparently acquiesced; it has publicly indicated
that it seeks Cuba's continued mediation with ELN agents in Cuba.
A declaration issued by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
May 2003 maintained that the presence of ETA members in Cuba arose
from a request for assistance by Spain and Panama and that the
issue is a bilateral matter between Cuba and Spain. The declaration
similarly defended its assistance to the FARC and the ELN as contributing
to a negotiated solution in Colombia.
Dozens of fugitives from U.S. justice have taken refuge on the
island. In a few cases, the Cuban government has rendered fugitives
from U.S. justice to U.S. authorities. The salient feature of Cuba's
behavior in this arena, however, is its refusal to render to U.S.
justice any fugitive whose crime is judged by Cuba to be "political."
With respect to domestic terrorism, the government in April 2003
executed three Cubans who attempted to hijack a ferry to the United
States. The three were executed under Cuba's 2001 "Law Against
Acts of Terrorism."
Cuba became a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols
relating to terrorism in 2001.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Terrorism
Production of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery
systems constitutes a major threat to international peace and security.
The threat is compounded by the interests of terrorists in acquiring
WMD. This would undermine the foundations of international order.
We pledge to use all means available to avert WMD proliferation
and the calamities that would follow.
Joint statement by President George W. Bush, European Council
President Konstandinos Simitis, and European Commission President
The September 11, 2001, attacks confirmed that terrorists will
seek to produce mass casualties whenever they believe it serves
their purposes. Although terrorists will probably continue to rely
on traditional terrorist tactics, several groups -- including al-Qaida
-- increasingly look to chemical, biological, radiological, or
nuclear (CBRN) materials as a means to cause mass casualties rivaling
or exceeding those of September 11. Troublesome amounts of dangerous
materials, and information about how to create and deliver CBRN
weapons, remain available to terrorists.
Usama Bin Ladin has said he sees the acquisition of WMD as a "religious
duty," and he has threatened to use such weapons. This rhetoric
was underscored by reports that documents retrieved from al-Qaida
facilities in Afghanistan contain information on CBRN materials.
However, the threat is not limited to Bin Ladin and al-Qaida.
Information indicates that small but growing numbers of other terrorist
groups are also interested in CBRN materials. In Europe, French
police seized a chemical contamination suit and arrested a terrorist
cell in December 2002 that allegedly was planning an attack using
chemical agents. At least one related group was making ricin toxin
in London at that same time for a future terrorist attack.
CBRN terrorism events to date have generally involved crude and
improvised delivery means that have been only marginally effective.
With the exception of the U.S. anthrax attacks, the materials employed
in these events also have been crudely manufactured. Other events
have involved dual-use materials that have legitimate civilian
applications, such as industrial chemicals, poisons, and pesticides,
and radiological source materials embedded in legitimate measuring
instruments. Although terrorist events involving these materials
and improvised delivery systems can cause significant casualties,
damage, and disruption, such events pale in comparison to the casualties
and damage that could occur if terrorists acquired WMD and the
ability to deliver them effectively.
Preventing the proliferation of WMD, their delivery systems, and
related materials and technologies has long been a pillar of national
security. Since September 11, the prevention of WMD has become
an even more urgent global priority. President Bush made this urgency
clear in his December 2002 National Strategy to Combat Weapons
of Mass Destruction, in which he set out a comprehensive strategy
to prevent WMD proliferation, including to terrorists.
In May 2003, President Bush announced the Proliferation Security
Initiative (PSI), a global multilateral arrangement to seize sensitive
cargoes that may be in transit to and from states and non-state
actors of proliferation concern. PSI is an interdiction program.
PSI participants will explore how best to use counterproliferation
tools -- diplomatic, intelligence, and operational -- to stop proliferation
at sea, in the air, and on land.
The United States is working within multilateral nonproliferation
regimes and other international forums. Bilaterally, the United
States promotes more stringent nonproliferation policies and programs;
strengthened export controls; and improved border security to prevent
terrorists or their state sponsors from acquiring WMD, their delivery
systems, related materials, or technologies. As the president's
National Strategy notes, however, should our diplomatic efforts
fall short, we will be prepared to deter and defend against the
full range of WMD scenarios.
Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2003.
Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence
and Security were involved in the planning of and support for terrorist
acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups that use terrorism
to pursue their goals.
Iran's record against al-Qaida remains mixed. After the fall of
the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, some al-Qaida members fled to
Iran where they have found virtual safe haven. Iranian officials
have acknowledged that Tehran detained al-Qaida operatives during
2003, including senior members. Iran's publicized presentation
of a list to the United Nations of deportees, however, was accompanied
by a refusal to publicly identify senior members in Iranian custody
on the grounds of "security." Iran has resisted calls
to transfer custody of its al-Qaida detainees to their countries
of origin or third countries for further interrogation and trial.
During 2003, Iran maintained a high-profile role in encouraging
anti-Israeli activity, both rhetorically and operationally. Supreme
Leader Khamenei praised Palestinian resistance operations, and
President Khatami reiterated Iran's support for the "wronged
people of Palestine" and their struggles. Matching this rhetoric
with action, Iran provided Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian rejectionist
Groups -- notably HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and the Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command -- with
funding, safe haven, training, and weapons. Iran hosted a conference
in August 2003 on the Palestinian intifada, at which an Iranian
official suggested that the continued success of the Palestinian
resistance depended on suicide operations.
Iran pursued a variety of policies in Iraq aimed at securing Tehran's
perceived interests there, some of which ran counter to those of
the Coalition. Iran has indicated support for the Iraqi Governing
Council and promised to help Iraqi reconstruction.
Shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein, individuals with ties
to the Revolutionary Guard may have attempted to infiltrate southern
Iraq, and elements of the Iranian government have helped members
of Ansar al-Islam transit and find safe haven in Iran. In a Friday
Prayers sermon in Tehran in May, Guardian Council member Ayatollah
Ahmad Jannati publicly encouraged Iraqis to follow the Palestinian
model and participate in suicide operations against Coalition forces.
Iran is a party to five of the 12 international conventions and
protocols relating to terrorism.
(Note: Most of the attacks that have occurred during Operation
Iraqi Freedom do not meet the longstanding U.S. definition of international
terrorism because they were directed at combatants, that is, American
and Coalition forces on duty. Attacks against civilians and against
military personnel who at the time of the incident were unarmed
and/or not on duty are judged as terrorist attacks.)
On 7 May 2003, President Bush suspended, with respect to Iraq,
all sanctions applicable to state sponsors of terrorism, which
had the practical effect of putting Iraq on a par with non-terrorist
states. Although Iraq is still technically a designated state sponsor
of terrorism, its name can be removed from the state sponsors list
when the Secretary of State determines that it has fulfilled applicable
statutory requirements, which include having a government in place
that pledges not to support acts of terrorism in the future.
In 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom removed Saddam Hussein and his
Ba'athist regime from power and liberated Iraq. Since then, however,
Iraq has become a central battleground in the global war on terrorism.
Former regime elements, who have been conducting insurgent attacks
against Coalition forces, have increasingly allied themselves tactically
and operationally with foreign fighters and Islamic extremists,
including some linked to Ansar al-Islam, al-Qaida, and Abu Mus'ab
al-Zarqawi. The line between insurgency and terrorism has become
increasingly blurred as attacks on civilian targets have become
more common. By end of the year, Coalition forces had detained
more than 300 suspected foreign fighters.
Extremists associated with al-Qaida claimed credit for several
suicide car bombings, including attacks in October against the
headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross and
three Baghdad police stations and an attack in November against
an Italian military police base in Nasiriyah. Al-Qaida associate
Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi -- accused of working with Ansar al-Islam
-- emerged as a key suspect in the deadly bombing of Jordan's Baghdad
embassy in August.
After Coalition strikes destroyed Ansar al-Islam's base in northern
Iraq in late March, Ansar al-Islam members fled across the border
and regrouped in Iran. Counterterrorist operations suggest many
of those fighters have since re-entered Iraq and are active in
anti-Coalition activities. In September, suspected members of Ansar
al-Islam were arrested in Kirkuk carrying 1,200 kilograms of TNT.
In November, Coalition forces killed two unidentified, high-ranking
members of Ansar al-Islam during a raid on a terrorist hideout
Other terrorist groups maintained a presence in Iraq. Members
of the foreign terrorist organization Mujahedin-e-Khalq -- which
had received military support from the regime of Saddam Hussein
-- were stripped of their weapons and placed under U.S. military
detention. The terrorist group KADEK -- renamed the Kurdistan People's
Congress (KHK) in the fall -- continued to proclaim its commitment
to nonviolence, while launching several attacks against Turkish
targets inside Turkey. The presence of several thousand KHK members
in northern Iraq underscores the group's ability to carry out terrorist
operations. The KHK periodically threatens to heighten its attacks
Iraq has signed eight of the 12 international conventions and
protocols relating to terrorism and is a party to five.
In 2003, Libya held to its practice in recent years of curtailing
support for international terrorism, although Tripoli continues
to maintain contact with some past terrorist clients. Libyan leader
Muammar Qadhafi and other Libyan officials continued their efforts
to identify Tripoli with the international community in the war
on terrorism. During an interview in January, Qadhafi stated that
Libyan intelligence had been sharing information on al-Qaida and
other Islamic extremists with Western intelligence services and
characterized such cooperation as "irrevocable." In a
speech marking the 34th anniversary of his revolution, he declared
that Libya and the United States had a common interest in fighting
al-Qaida and Islamic extremism.
Regarding its own terrorist past, Libya took long-awaited steps
in 2003 to address the U.N. requirements arising out of the bombing
of Pan Am Flight 103 but remained embroiled in efforts to settle
international political and legal disputes stemming from other
terrorist attacks Tripoli conducted during the 1980s.
In August, as required by the U.N. Security Council, the Libyan
government officially notified the U.N. Security Council that it
accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials in connection
with Pan Am Flight 103 (Abdel Basset Ali al-Meghrahi, a Libyan
intelligence agent, was convicted by a Scottish court in 2001 for
his role in the bombing). Libya further confirmed that it had made
arrangements for the payment of appropriate compensation to the
families of the victims: a total of up to $2.7 billion or $10 million
for each victim. Further, Libya renounced terrorism and affirmed
its adherence to a number of U.N. declarations and international
conventions and protocols that the Libyan government had signed
in the past. Libya also pledged to cooperate in good faith with
any further requests for information in connection with the Pan
Am Flight 103 investigation. In response, the Security Council
voted on 12 September to permanently lift sanctions that it had
imposed against Libya in 1992 and suspended in 1999.
In August, the Qadhafi Foundation pledged to compensate victims
wounded in the bombing in 1986 of La Belle Discotheque, a Berlin
nightclub, after a German court issued its written opinion finding
that the Libyan intelligence service had orchestrated the attack.
The original trial had concluded in 2001 with the conviction of
four individuals for carrying out the attack, in which two U.S.
servicemen and a Turkish woman were killed and 229 persons wounded.
Leaders of the Qadhafi Foundation indicated, however, that their
compensation was a humanitarian gesture that did not constitute
Libyan acceptance of responsibility. In September, the German government
indicated that it was engaged in talks with Libyan representatives,
but at the end of the year, no announcement had yet been made regarding
a final compensation deal.
On 19 December, Colonel Qadhafi announced that Libya would eliminate
its weapons of mass destruction programs and MTCR-class missiles
and took immediate steps to implement this public commitment with
the assistance of the United States, United Kingdom, and relevant
international organizations. The Libyan decision to reveal its
programs to the international community shed important light on
the international network of proliferators intent on subverting
Libya is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols
relating to terrorism.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is not known
to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean
Airlines flight in 1987.
Following the attacks of September 11, Pyongyang began laying
the groundwork for a new position on terrorism by framing the issue
as one of "protecting the people" and replaying language
from the Joint U.S.-DPRK Statement on International Terrorism of
October 2000. It also announced to a visiting EU delegation that
it planned to sign the international conventions against terrorist
financing and the taking of hostages and would consider acceding
to other antiterrorism agreements.
At a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi in Pyongyang
in September 2002, National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong
Il acknowledged the involvement of DPRK "special institutions" in
the kidnapping of Japanese citizens and said that those responsible
had already been punished. Pyongyang has allowed the return to
Tokyo of five surviving abductees and is negotiating with Tokyo
over the repatriation of their family members remaining in North
Korea. The DPRK also has been trying to resolve the issue of harboring
Japanese Red Army members involved in a jet hijacking in 1970 --
allowing the repatriation of several family members of the hijackers
Although it is a party to six international conventions and protocols
relating to terrorism, Pyongyang has not taken substantial steps
to cooperate in efforts to combat international terrorism.
Sudan in 2003 deepened its cooperation with the U.S. government
to investigate and apprehend extremists suspected of involvement
in terrorist activities. Overall, Sudan's cooperation and information
sharing has improved markedly, producing significant progress in
combating terrorist activity, but areas of concern remain.
Domestically, Khartoum stepped up efforts to disrupt extremist
activities and deter terrorists from operating in Sudan. In May,
Sudanese authorities raided a probable terrorist training camp
in Kurdufan State, arresting more than a dozen extremists and seizing
illegal weapons. The majority of the trainees captured were Saudi
citizens and were extradited to Saudi Arabia to face charges in
accordance with a bilateral agreement. In June, the Sudanese government
detained several individuals linked to the publication of an alleged "hit
list" attributed to the terrorist group al-Takfir wa al-Hijra.
The list called for the killing of 11 prominent Sudanese Christian
and leftist politicians, jurists, journalists, and others. In September,
a Sudanese court convicted a Syrian engineer and two Sudanese nationals
of training a group of Saudis, Palestinians, and others to carry
out attacks in Iraq, Eritrea, Sudan, and Israel. A court statement
said the Syrian was training others to carry out attacks against
U.S. forces in Iraq.
There were no international terrorist attacks in Sudan during
2003. Khartoum throughout the year placed a high priority on the
protection of U.S. citizens and facilities in Sudan. In November,
the authorities stepped up their efforts to protect the U.S. Embassy,
which temporarily suspended operations in response to a terrorist
threat that was deemed credible. Earlier in the year, Sudanese
authorities closed a major Khartoum thoroughfare to enhance the
Embassy's security and further upgraded security measures during
Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Sudanese government also took steps in 2003 to strengthen
its legislative and bureaucratic instruments for fighting terrorism
by ratifying the International Convention for the Suppression of
the Financing of Terrorism. Sudan also ratified the African Union's
Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and the
Convention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on Combating
Terrorism. In June, Sudanese Minister of Justice Ali Mohamed Osman
Yassin issued a decree establishing an office for combating terrorism.
In 2003, Sudan signed a counterterrorism cooperation agreement
with the Algerian government, which during the 1990s accused Sudan
of harboring wanted Algerian terrorists. Sudan also signed a counterterrorism
agreement with Yemen and Ethiopia.
In response to ongoing U.S. concern over the presence in Sudan
of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) and the Palestine Islamic
Jihad (PIJ), Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail in June said
the Sudanese government would limit HAMAS to conducting political
activities. Visiting Sudanese peace talks in Kenya in October,
Secretary Powell said Sudan had yet to shut down the Khartoum offices
of HAMAS and the PIJ.
President Umar al-Bashir in an interview with Al-Arabiyah television
maintained that the Sudanese government could not expel HAMAS because
it has a political relationship with the group and stated there
was no PIJ office in Sudan.
Responding to press reports that its Sudan office had closed,
HAMAS officials in Khartoum and Gaza in November said that the
office remained open but that the main representative had been
Sudan also has participated in regional efforts to end its long-running
civil war -- a U.S. policy priority that complements the U.S. goal
of denying terrorists safe haven in Sudan.
Sudan is a party to all 12 of the international conventions and
protocols relating to terrorism.
The Syrian government in 2003 continued to provide political and
material support to Palestinian rejectionist groups. HAMAS, the
PIJ, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General
Command, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
operate from Syria, although they have lowered their public profiles
since May, when Damascus announced that the groups had voluntarily
closed their offices. Many of these groups claimed responsibility
for anti-Israeli terrorist acts in 2003; the Syrian government
insists that their Damascus offices undertake only political and
informational activities. Syria also continued to permit Iran to
use Damascus as a transshipment point for resupplying Hizballah
Syrian officials have publicly condemned international terrorism
but continue to make a distinction between terrorism and what they
consider to be the legitimate armed resistance of Palestinians
in the Occupied Territories and of Lebanese Hizballah. The Syrian
government has not been implicated directly in an act of terrorism
During the past five years, there have been no acts of terrorism
against U.S. citizens in Syria. Despite tensions between the United
States and Syria about the war in Iraq and Syrian support for terrorism,
Damascus has repeatedly assured the United States that it will
take every possible measure to protect U.S. citizens and facilities.
Damascus has cooperated with the United States and other foreign
governments against al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other terrorist
organizations and individuals; it also has discouraged signs of
public support for al-Qaida, including in the media and at mosques.
In 2003, Syria was instrumental in returning a sought-after terrorist
planner to U.S. custody. Since the end of the war in Iraq, Syria
has made efforts to tighten its borders with Iraq to limit the
movement of anti-Coalition foreign fighters into Iraq, a move that
has not been completely successful.
Syria is a party to seven of the 12 international conventions
and protocols relating to terrorism.