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8 October 2008 - Measures to eliminate international terrorism (item 99) - Speech delivered by Mr. Hubert Renié, First Counsellor, Legal Advisor

63th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sixth Committee

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.

As stated in the European Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the European Council on 16 December 2005, terrorism is one of the most serious threats against the security of States and their citizens. Terrorism in all its forms and in all circumstances, is criminal and unjustifiable, and cannot claim to represent any culture or religion.

Fighting terrorism must remain a priority for the United Nations, the only world body qualified to lead and coordinate this struggle. In this regard, the European Union strongly supports the work of the United Nations in this domain, as well as the counterterrorism actions already taken by regional organisations such as the Council of Europe, OSCE and NATO.

We call upon all Member States to become parties to all United Nations counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, which form the legal basis for international efforts to fight terrorism. We would like to commend the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for the technical assistance it provided to States to support the implementation of these conventions.

The European Union fully and actively supports the Security Council Committees established by Resolutions 1267, 1373 and 1540, which are at the core of the United Nations’ response to terrorism. We also call upon Member States to fully implement all Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the issue.

The fight against terrorism also implies to provide a proper support for the victims of terrorists attacks. We urge all Member States to adopt such measures in order to reduce the dramatic consequences of such criminal acts.

We welcome the consensus that prevailed during the implementation review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on 4 and 5 September 2008. The consensual reaffirmation of this strategy represents a significant success, which showed the ability of Member States of the General Assembly to speak firmly, jointly and resolutely about their common objective of fighting terrorism. We renew our call for the implementation of this strategy and the four pillars that comprise it, on the basis of a global and integrated approach firmly rooted in the rule of law and involving all relevant actors, including civil society and the private sector as well as regional and subregional organisations.

We recall that all measures against terrorism must be taken in compliance with international law including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law. In the face of the challenge of terrorism, democracies should never compromise their values.

We also welcome the important work of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, recalled by the Secretary General in his report on "Activities of the United Nations for the implementation of the strategy." The CTITF must now be provided with the budgetary and administrative support necessary to continue strengthening its work on strategy implementation. The European Union urges all entities that make up the Task Force to engage fully in its activities to this end.

All this progress should inspire Member States in their negotiations aimed at drafting a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, which will coherently supplement the international body of law. As regards convening an international conference on combating terrorism, we believe this should be considered only after we have reached an agreement on the comprehensive draft convention.

Terrorism feeds on the prejudice and ignorance that only a culture of dialogue and exchange will overcome. The European Union will continue its efforts to strengthen dialogue and mutual understanding between cultures, which must involve all actors - States, regional organizations, civil society and a wide array of tools.

In this respect, the European Union welcomes the founding of the Union for the Mediterranean which will provide a sustainable framework for dialogue from shore to shore of the Mediterranean. Thus, the Euro-Mediterranean code of conduct on the fight against terrorism, adopted in 2005, showed the resolve of Member States of the Barcelona Process to strengthen their cooperation to tackle this global challenge. Other initiatives also contribute to the mutual opening of societies such as the Alliance of Civilizations, the Interfaith Dialogue and efforts in this area by UNESCO.

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