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UN: Security Council Considers Moves For More Counterterrorism Help

  • Robert McMahon

Worried by lagging compliance, the UN Security Council is preparing to revamp the mechanism for enforcing its tough counterterrorism resolution. A key proposal is a new body to handle technical assistance on issues ranging from anti-money-laundering measures to border controls. Representatives of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus appealed at a Security Council hearing yesterday for help as part of any new counterterrorism-assistance efforts.

United Nations, 5 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Some 30 months after adoption of its tough counterterrorism resolution, UN Security Council members are planning changes to overcome weak compliance efforts.

Resolution 1373, passed within weeks of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, contains some of the strongest measures ever adopted by the body. But demands for such measures as suppressing terrorism financing have proven difficult for developing states to implement.

The Security Council held an open meeting yesterday to discuss proposals for revamping its mechanism for assuring compliance with mandated counterterrorism measures.

A main feature is the creation of an expert body to improve the coordination of technical assistance efforts for states. The experts would facilitate help for states as they write legislation to stop sophisticated forms of terrorism funding.

"There still exists a great risk of unauthorized penetration into the zone and the removal of the contaminated substances which, inter alia, could be used by the potential terrorists for their purposes."
Another duty of the new body would be to coordinate help for states seeking to improve border controls. The body would report to the Security Council's counterterrorism committee until its scheduled expiration at the end of 2007.

The United States, one of the prime supporters of the measure, believes the Security Council needs to inject a new sense of urgency into its counterterrorism efforts. U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte said the UN Security Council “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."

Negroponte told the Security Council that its measures must be enforced on a global scale, saying the failure of compliance in just a few states jeopardizes world security.

The new measures have the general support of council members, although nonpermanent members Germany and Pakistan did express concern about the unusual nature of the monitoring body.

The measures must be approved in a new resolution. A draft may be circulated among Security Council members as soon as today. While the measures are aimed at the developing world, a number of former Soviet states that lie across illicit trafficking routes are also eager for assistance. Kazakhstan's UN ambassador, Yerzhan Kazykhanov, told the Security Council he hopes the new measures envisioned can lend assistance to Central Asian states coping with many forms of trafficking.

"Since modern [days,] terrorism has essentially blended with illegal trafficking in drugs, arms, and people. The strengthening of border guards, customs, and law enforcement agencies of states located alongside the drug-trafficking routes from Afghanistan has thus become a top priority for the Central Asian region," Kazykhanov said.

Kazykhanov did not mention weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons were formerly stationed and tested in Kazakhstan. Although all warheads were transferred to Russia, there is still concern by some experts about remaining nuclear materials in research institutes.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian UN Ambassador Valeriy Kuchynsky directly referred to nuclear trafficking as a concern in his call for assistance from the Security Council. Kuchynsky said Ukraine has approached the counterterrorism committee for advice on how to secure the exclusion zone around the site of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster. Kuchynsky said there are 800 sites in the zone where nuclear waste and contaminated materials have been dumped. "There still exists a great risk of unauthorized penetration into the zone and the removal of the contaminated substances which, inter alia, could be used by the potential terrorists for their purposes," he said.

The representative of another former Soviet nuclear republic, Belarus, also came before the Security Council to seek assistance on carrying out counterterrorism measures. Envoy Aleh Ivanou said Belarus would welcome help in tightening customs, migration, and border controls.

(UN Resolution 1373 can be found on the Internet here: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/sc7158.doc.htm)
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