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Progress reported at UN negotiations on new anti-terrorism treaties

Progress reported at UN negotiations on new anti-terrorism treaties

A key negotiator involved in the drafting of two new United Nations anti-terrorism treaties today reported that talks were proceeding well, with delegates spurred by the recent terrorist attacks against the United States to negotiate in a positive spirit.

"I'm pleased to report that progress is extremely encouraging," Dr. Rohan Perera, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on terrorism - a General Assembly body which has already successfully negotiated other anti-terror pacts - told a news conference in New York. "All delegations are approaching the negotiations with sense of compromise and in a spirit of flexibility."

"Obviously the events of 11 September have had an impact on these negotiations," he said. "People realize that the world is waiting for a positive outcome from this exercise."

Mr. Perera said work on a new Russian-proposed treaty against nuclear terrorism has largely been completed. "There is one outstanding matter on the scope of the convention, which requires resolution at a policy level," he said.

Describing negotiations on a comprehensive convention for the suppression of terrorism, first proposed by India, he said the treaty would strengthen the existing legal anti-terrorism framework. It included a "depoliticalization clause, namely that an act of terrorism involving innocent civilians and civilian targets cannot be considered a political offence."

"Under normal law, if you plead that you have committed an offence in furtherance of a political objective, an offender cannot be extradited, but here that defence is taken away," he said. "If you target innocent civilians by the use of indiscriminate violence, then motivation does not justify your crime."