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Combatting Terrorism: UN Security Council Calls for Urgent Action

Reaffirming its "strong determination" to intensify the fight against terrorism, the UN Security Council urged countries and international organizations to work more closely together in taking urgent action to prevent and suppress terrorist actions and support.

The call came in a declaration adopted 20 January 2003 on the issue of combating terrorism at a formal meeting of the Council chaired by Foreign Minister Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin of France, which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the 15-nation body. Foreign Ministers from 13 of the countries were in attendance and all Council members participated in the discussion.

In their declaration, the Ministers called on States to take a number of steps to fight the menace. Steps include becoming a party to all international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism; helping each other in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of acts of terrorism, wherever they occur; and cooperating closely to implement fully the sanctions against terrorists and their associates, in particular Al-Qaida and the Taliban and their associates.

The Council reaffirmed that "there is a serious and growing danger of terrorist access to and use of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials, and therefore a need to strengthen controls on these materials."

Highlighting the role of its Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the Council said that the CTC must intensify its efforts to promote the implementation by UN Member States of all aspects of resolution 1373, which was adopted in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks against the United States, by reviewing their reports and facilitating international assistance and cooperation.

The declaration said that States must also ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, and should adopt such measures in accordance with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law. It further encouraged international organizations to evaluate ways in which they can enhance the effectiveness of their action against terrorism, including by establishing dialogue and exchanges of information with each other and with other relevant international actors. The declaration also emphasized the role of regional and sub-regional organizations in working with the CTC and other international organizations.

The Council stressed that continuing international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden the understanding among civilizations "will contribute to international cooperation and collaboration, which by themselves are necessary to sustain the broadest possible fight against terrorism."

In his statement to the Council, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged a stronger UN and global response to terrorist threats. "Greater efforts are needed to ensure universality, verification and full implementation of the key treaties relating to weapons of mass destruction, to tighten national export controls over items needed to produce them, and to criminalize the acquisition or use of such weapons by non-State groups," he said.

Last update: 27 July 2017