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Proposal To Revitalize UN Counter-Terrorism Body

Security Council Hears Proposal To Revitalize UN Counter-Terrorism Committee

Members of the United Nations anti-terrorism committee today agreed on the need to "revitalize" its work in order to adapt to the evolving nature of its mission and voiced support for a plan that aims to enhance the Security Council's ability to help countries implement a resolution - adopted in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks against the United States - to fight the worldwide scourge.

In an open briefing on the work of the Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the panel's Chairman, Ambassador Inocencio Arias of Spain, stressed that the proposal to rejuvenate its work had originated from a dual conviction: that terrorism was one of the major threats to international peace and security; and that the UN must play a central role in the fight against that threat with the Council, through the CTC, leading the effort.

Ambassador Arias noted that the CTC's present procedures and structures needed to be reconsidered, particularly since the Committee had evolved to assume a more proactive role in evaluating the implementation of the landmark anti-terror measure, resolution 1373. In addition, the CTC has stepped up its efforts to facilitate technical assistance to countries and to promote closer cooperation with international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

Resolution 1373, adopted on 28 September 2001, established the CTC and called on Member States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, refrain from providing any support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support and commit such acts. The Committee itself is not a sanctions body but rather monitors steps taken by countries, through the adoption of laws and regulations as well as the creation of administrative structures to combat terrorism.

A report presented last month by Ambassador Arias recommended that structural and operational changes to the Committee include the consolidation of the group of experts and the support staff from the UN Secretariat to enhance the Council's ability to encourage implementation of the resolution and to monitor implementation on the part of Member States.

The new CTC structure would consist of a Plenary composed of the Security Council's Member States focusing on strategic and policy decisions. A Bureau would comprise the Chair and Vice-Chairs, as well as the consolidated expert and Secretariat staff, known as the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) headed by an Executive Director.

The report also proposes that limits be established on the number of personnel allocated to the Committee and calls for a comprehensive Council review of the Committee by 31 December 2005. In addition, it includes a "sunset clause" set for 31 December 2007, so that in the absence of a renewal from the Security Council, the initiative would automatically terminate.

During today's meeting, Council members, who also serve on the CTC, voiced support for the proposed changes, stressing that they would boost the UN's ability to forestall terrorist threats. Participants emphasized that the suggested reforms would not alter the CTC's mandate or undermine the UN secretariat, but rather would enhance the panel's operational capacity.

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