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Counter-terror panel to examine links with regions

UN counter-terror panel to examine links with regional organizations

The United Nations Security Council will seek to boost the global fight against terrorism this week at a special meeting of its Counter-terrorism Committee (CTC) expected to be attended by more than 50 international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

"The whole approach of the CTC is to try to create a global approach to counter-terrorism," the Committee Chairman, Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, told UN Radio ahead of Thursday's meeting at UN Headquarters in New York. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is scheduled to speak, along with Ambassador Greenstock, at the open portion of the meeting, after which the CTC's discussions will be closed to the public.

Organizations invited to attend include the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the League of Arab States, the European Union (EU), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Interpol.

Calling the CTC a hub for action by UN Member States, Ambassador Greenstock said: "We thought we needed a meeting so everyone can talk to everyone else and devise an action plan to sort out what everybody did best in their own area so that voluntarily, with each organization following its own mandate, of course, we have a global effort."

He cited the OAS as a role model since it set up an Inter-American Committee against Terrorism before the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States. "I'm hoping that other regional organizations, political groups of member states will soon be catching up with the OAS to do the kind of operational and coordination things that the OAS have started and which are very useful in each region," he said.

The Chairman also defined the UN role as that of an enabler. Referring to the recent capture in Pakistan of a top member of the Al-Qaida organization blamed for the attacks on the US, he said: "The UN is not an operational agency, so the hard security operations have got to be done by the states with hard security abilities, and this clearly was a very good piece of coordination between Pakistan and the US and all of that is going on all the time."

Ambassador Greenstock explained that the UN "is doing what I call channel 2 of the response to 9/11. Channel 1 is the operational pursuit of those who did it and everybody connected with them. Channel 2 is raising everybody's capability to deal with counter-terrorism everywhere. All the places that the arm of the US and Europe cannot reach - that's what the CTC is all about."

The CTC, entrusted with monitoring all areas covered by the Council's counter-terrorism resolution 1373 adopted in the wake of the 11 September attacks, has divided the day-long programme into three sessions: on global standards on counter-terrorism, the role of regional and sub-regional organizations in strengthening global counter-terrorism capacity, and the role of international and regional organizations on assistance.

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