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20 July 2004

Global Fight Against Terrorism Remains Urgent, Danforth Says

Ambassador Danforth addresses Security Council on counterterrorism

The global campaign against terrorism remains a high priority for the United States and Washington is committed to seeing that the United Nations continues to play an important role in that fight, U.S. Ambassador John Danforth said July 19.

The Security Council "must act with a sense of urgency, as though the events of March 11, 2004, and September 11, 2001, took place yesterday, not months or years ago," Danforth said, referring to the terrorist attacks in Spain and the United States that claimed thousands of lives and injured thousands more.

Danforth spoke during a public U.N. Security Council meeting reviewing the work of the council's counterterrorism committee (CTC) which was set up after the September 11 attacks to determine how prepared countries are to combat terrorism, assess what help they need, and match those needs with donor nations. The counterterrorism committee, which is now chaired by Ambassador Alexander Konuzin of Russia, was restructured in March to provide an executive directorate to acetate the committee's work.

Compliance with the council's resolutions on terrorism require more than reports to the CTC, Danforth said. It requires legislative, regulatory and operational action by governments on many fronts to stop terrorist activities that range from financing to procuring weapons and finding safe haven.

"Perhaps the clearest indication of just how much more needs to be done is the number of major terrorist attacks since the CTC opened it doors for business in October 2001," he said. "Simply put, the terrorists and their supporters have continued to strike whether in Bali, Moscow, Casablanca, Riyadh, Baghdad, Mombassa, Istanbul, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Madrid. Terrorism has not been defeated . . . ."

Following is the text of Danforth's remarks:

(begin text)

[United Nations
New York]

Statement by Ambassador John Danforth, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, on the Work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, in the Security Council

July 19, 2004

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

I'm sure I join all ambassadors in thanking Ambassador Konuzin for his report to us this morning, and also in congratulating him and his staff for their work since assuming the Chairmanship of the CTC in May.

I would also like to welcome Javier Ruperez, the Executive Director of the newly established Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, to his first Council meeting. The establishment of this body marks a watershed moment in the Council's efforts to deal with the menacing threat to international peace and security that is terrorism.

The global campaign against terrorism remains the highest of priorities for my government. The United States is committed to seeing that the United Nations continues to play an important role in this area, and my government is working to find ways to enhance the UN's effectiveness.

It will require a team effort to defeat the scourge of terrorism. The Counter-Terrorism Committee has been a valuable member of this team. Through its capacity-building work and its global coordination initiatives, the Committee has helped energize member states and organizations around the world to make the fight against terrorism more of a priority, whether through the adoption of new or the improvement of existing counter-terrorism laws or enforcement mechanisms. As a result of its work, more organizations and countries have joined the counter-terrorism team. Nevertheless, much work remains to be done.

For example, while we have seen a significant increase in the number of states that have become parties to the 12 international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, there are still too many that have failed to take action in this area. Some 40 states are parties to fewer than half of these instruments. This suggests a lack of urgency in fighting terrorism and weakens international solidarity.

Although the CTC has received more than 500 reports from member states, compliance with Resolution 1373 requires much more than the submission of reports. Compliance requires action on various fronts -- the legislative, the regulatory, and the operational -- the CTC needs to do a better job of reinforcing this point, both inn New York and in capitals.

Perhaps the clearest indication of just how much more needs to be done is the number of major terrorist attacks since the CTC opened its doors for business in October 2001. Simply put, the terrorists and their supporters have continued to strike, whether in Bali, Moscow, Casablanca, Riyadh, Baghdad, Mombassa, Istanbul, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Madrid. Terrorism has not been defeated, raising the specter of further deadly attacks on innocent victims and continuing threats to international peace and security.

The Council established the CTED to strengthen the CTC and provide it with additional tools and resources. Now, we must work to ensure that the CTED becomes operational as quickly as possible.

The CTED will enable the CTC to be more proactive, to reach out in different ways to states and organizations to encourage more of them to become full partners on the counter-terrorism team.

Through field visits to different states, it will be able to help the CTC assess on the ground efforts to implement the provisions of Resolution 1373, thus moving beyond the current focus on written reports. This is essential if the CTC eventually hopes to gather enough information to determine which states are in compliance with the resolution. In addition, we encourage those states that have asked for technical assistance to consider requesting a visit from the CTC and the CTED.

Even with the work of these bodies, and that of the Council's other counter-terrorism body -- the "Al-Qaeda/Taliban Sanctions Committee" -- the Council itself must remain at the forefront of the global campaign to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. It must act with a sense of urgency, as though the events of March 11, 2004 and September 11, 2001, took place yesterday, not months or years ago. It must never forget that so long as a few states are not acting quickly enough to raise their capacity to fight terrorism or are not meeting their international counter-terrorism obligations, all of us remain vulnerable. The Council must be prepared to live up to its responsibility under the U.N. Charter to maintain international peace and security.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(end text)