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9/11 Commission Report Recommendations

9/11 Commission Report Recommendations

James W. Swigert, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs
Testimony before the House International Relations Committee
Washington, DC
August 19, 2004


Mr. Chairman, on behalf of Assistant Secretary Holmes, I appreciate this opportunity to addressthe 9/11 Commission recommendations that relate to our work in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, or IO. I ask that my full statement be submitted for the record.

The IO Bureau serves as the main link between U.S. Government agencies, including key offices within the State Department, and the United Nations system, including the UN Security Council, which has authority over the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and the 1267 Sanctions Committee dealing with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Together with our UN Mission in New York and Ambassador John Danforth, we work closely in all appropriate international fora to improve partnerships and capacities for fighting terrorism around the globe.

The IO Bureau participates in an aggressive interagency team effort to stamp out all forms of terrorism. We acknowledge and applaud the extraordinary counterterrorism efforts that other U.S. agencies have launched. Yet we are also practical. We recognize that mobilizing global responses against terrorism through organizations like the UN significantly enhances our effectiveness. We, therefore, welcome the 9-11 Commission's calls for greater international cooperation and coordination against terrorism.

As President Bush has said, there can be "no neutral ground in the fight between civilization and terror." Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Secretary Powell instructed the IO Bureau to lead the United States' intense efforts in the Security Council to adopt, just 17 days later, a sweeping counterterrorism mandate -- UN Security Council Resolution 1373. That resolution calls on all UN Member States to implement measures to suppress terrorism financing for example, by freezing funds and criminalizing terrorism financing), to exchange information to prevent terrorist attacks, and to deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts.

Resolution 1373 also created the Counter-Terrorism Committee. With every Security Council member state represented, this committee monitors how all countries are implementing that resolution. It reviews country reports. It recommends useful measures that states might undertake, and it seeks to match those countries needing technical assistance in counterterrorism with potential donors.

In March of this year, we worked with other Security Council members to adopt Resolution 1535, reorganizing and reinvigorating the CTC staff by adding personnel, creating an Executive Directorate, and establishing the position of Executive Director. We are currently working with other CTC members to stand up and staff the Executive Directorate. We anticipate this enhancement will promote more effective implementation of Resolution 1373, facilitate counter-terrorism capacity-building where needed, and increase the exchange of counter-terrorism information among all states and organizations engaged in the fight against terrorism.

Even before September 11th, the State Department and the Security Council recognized the need to confront Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Usama bin Laden terrorist activities. In Resolutions 1267 1999) and 1333 (2000), the Council collectively targeted those entities for sanctions. UN Security Council Resolution 1267 created the al-Qaeda/Taliban Sanctions or 1267) Committee which establishes and maintains a list of individuals and entities targeted for sanctions. Subsequent resolutions (1390, 1455, and most recently 1526) expanded these sanctions to include a travel ban and arms embargo against any individual or entity list by the 1267 Committee.

To date 143 individuals and one entity associated with the Taliban have been listed, as have 174 individuals and 111 entities belonging to or associated with al-Qaeda. Approximately $140 million in terrorist assets have been frozen worldwide.

Last September, in his speech to the UN General Assembly, the President cited the grave threat posed by rogue states and terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction. The President called on the Security Council to combat that threat by requiring states to: criminalize the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; enact strict export controls on these weapons and related materials, equipment, and technology; and secure sensitive materials within their own borders.

This past April, in a historic move, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1540, which addressed all of these objectives. The Council more recently established a committee to monitor country actions to comply with its provisions. Significantly, the resolution called for multinational cooperation on counter-proliferation -- exactly the kind of cooperation we are seeing bear fruit through our Proliferation Security Initiative.

As you can see, Mr. Chairman, such resolutions at the UN have established a broad range of measures to limit terrorism financing, trans-boundary movement of terrorists, terrorist sanctuaries, and sale of arms to terrorists. Such provisions square precisely with many of the 9-11 Commission recommendations.

To give practical effect to these resolutions, my colleagues in the International Organization Affairs Bureau and I continue to work with other State bureaus, like those here today, and with USUN in New York, other USG agencies, the CTC and the al Qaeda/Taliban Sanctions Committee, and other international organizations. We focus on coalition building with key allies, engaging other Security Council members, urging countries to meet their Security Council obligations, and targeting individuals and entities for sanctions. We have found sanctions can work when they are broadly enforced, not only because they are punitive, but also because they send a strong message to terrorists and their supporters that the world is united against them.

Together with the Nonproliferation (NP) Bureau, we also interact closely with such UN technical agencies as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to enhance national security, counter threats of nuclear and radiological terrorism, and strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. The IAEA's investigation into Iran's nuclear program focused international attention on Iran's past safeguards violations as well as its ongoing and troubling nuclear activities. We believe the IAEA Board of Governors should report Iran's safeguards noncompliance to the UN Security Council.

The IAEA continues to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. We support its ongoing efforts to force North Korea to reconsider its actions. The IAEA has also played a constructive role in dismantling Libya's clandestine nuclear weapons program.

We are pursuing proposals made by President Bush in his February speech at the National Defense University to strengthen the IAEA in its work against nuclear proliferation. We are making concerted efforts to encourage

Last year we sought and achieved a substantial increase in the IAEA safeguards budget, to be phased in over four years. Congressional support for this effort was critical and most welcome. The IAEA's safeguards mandates grew substantially over the past two decades, while its budget remained essentially flat. The additional funds will help ensure the IAEA has the staff and resources it needs to do its job.

We are active in other international organizations that play important roles in countering terrorism. These include the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which have significantly strengthened their security standards. Today, 188 countries are meeting ICAO's cockpit door and crew standards, which are backed up by a security audit program. ICAO is working toward implementing biometrics in passports. IMO's tough port and ship security standards went into effect on July 1 of this year and are already changing the security situation for the better in ports around the world.

In summary, Mr. Chairman, the IO Bureau, like the entire State Department, has been diligently using its resources to engage the international community in a global effort to eradicate terrorism. It is my sincere belief, and I trust you agree, that the wide-ranging actions USG agencies are taking to counter terrorism and terrorists are amplified by our coalition building within the UN, its specialized agencies and other international organizations. Thank you.

[End]


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