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Meeting unanimously adopts anti-terror steps

Security Council meeting at Summit level unanimously adopts anti-terror steps

The Security Council, meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government, today unanimously adopted resolutions calling on all States to reinforce the battle against terrorism and to strengthen the Council's role in preventing conflict, particularly in Africa.

In Resolution 1624, adopted at what was officially called the Security Council Summit on Threats to Peace and Security, the leaders condemned "in the strongest terms all acts of terrorism irrespective of their motivation, whenever and by whomsoever committed, as one of the most serious threats to peace and security."

They reaffirmed "the imperative to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations."

They called upon all States to adopt all necessary measures, including prohibiting by law incitement to commit terrorist acts, denying safe haven to anyone thus involved, and cooperation to strengthen security of international borders and combat fraudulent travel documents.

The resolution also calls upon all States to continue international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations in an effort to prevent indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures and to ensure that measures taken comply with all obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, refugee law, and humanitarian law.

In Council Resolution 1625 on conflict prevention, the leaders called for a raft of measures ranging from preventive-diplomacy initiatives, regional mediation and early warnings of potential conflict to promoting fairness and transparency of electoral processes and acting against illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources.

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"We must be at the forefront of the fight against terrorism," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, calling on the international community to complete a comprehensive convention that outlaws terrorism in all its forms.

He called the need to prevent conflict in Africa a "crucial issue," adding: "I consider it thoroughly appropriate that at this summit, you have reflected the priority it deserves – as is the case in the daily work of the Security Council."

Following Mr. Annan, President Benjamin William Mkapa of Tanzania said it was important that the Council address not only the threats but also their underlying causes. "We need to agree on, and pursue an effective strategy that will address the root causes and underlying conditions of terrorism and conflict," he added.

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin said today's session underlined the fundamental importance of the UN and its Security Council as the headquarters for the international anti-terrorist front, and declared his country's readiness to take practical steps to strengthen the UN's central role in ensuring international security and stability.

Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stressed that "actions to combat terrorism and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms are not mutually exclusive," and he called for a more comprehensive concept of collective security and strengthening the UN.

Speaking next, United States President George W. Bush stressed the "solemn obligation to stop terrorism at its early stages" including freezing terrorists' assets, denying them freedom of movement and preventing them from acquiring weapons, including weapons of mass destruction. "The United States will continue to work with and through the Security Council to help all nations meet these commitments," he said.

President Nestor Kirchner of Argentina said tackling terrorism required a legitimate international response that entailed looking at the problem in a broader perspective rather than unilaterally. There should be a closer relationship between preserving human rights and combating terrorism, he added.

Echoing the need to address both symptoms and root causes, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the Council should devise a comprehensive strategy that included prevention, peace restoration, peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction. As terrorism posed a serious threat to global peace and security, the international community should act in strict accordance with the UN Charter, he added.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika condemned all manifestations of terrorism, calling on all states to work together under UN authority to combat it. He called for an agreed definition of terrorism that recognized the legitimate struggle for self-determination.

Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom said terrorism would not be defeated until the Council's determination was as complete as the terrorists', until its defence of freedom was as absolute as their fanaticism and until its passion for democracy was as great as their passion for tyranny. "They play on our divisions. They exploit our hesitations. This is our weakness. And they know it," he said.

Benin's President Mathieu Kerekou said combating terrorism required a scrupulous respect for the sovereignty of States and international law, and the protection of human rights and international humanitarian law. On conflict prevention, he said the Council could establish a regular evaluation of risk situations around the world, so as to appraise existing threats. Africa required specific attention, he concluded.

President Traian Basescu of Romania noted that "global anti-terrorism can be sustained only by action taken at the Security Council level. It has to be a UN undertaking as a whole," he added.

Echoing the theme of combating both symptoms and causes, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said repression alone will not defeat terrorism. "We must prevent terror from breeding in hotbeds of hopelessness," he declared. "In combating irrational violence, the best means at our disposal are the promotion of a culture of dialogue, the promotion of development and the unyielding protection of human rights."

In similar vein, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin called for "resolute action on everything that fuels terrorism – the inequalities, the persistence of violence, injustices and conflicts, the lack of understanding among cultures," since force alone "does not answer peoples' frustrations, it does not address the roots of evil."

For his part, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he found it appalling that a few countries are still blocking a common definition of terrorism. "Let me be very clear," he declared. "Terrorism can never be justified. Terrorism is never a legitimate weapon. The targeting and deliberate killing of civilians is unacceptable. Full stop."

Speaking for Japan, Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said the Security Council must play a key role in addressing anti-terrorism and conflict prevention in Africa and needed to be reformed to reflect today's reality.

Wrapping up the session and speaking in her national capacity, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, which holds this month's Council presidency, said the US was the natural leader in the war on terror since it remained the biggest victim of terrorism in the present era and was the best equipped to fight it. She called on the Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee to coordinate intelligence with the US.

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