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Security Council, Assembly decisions form good basis in anti-terror fight: Annan

Security Council, Assembly decisions form good basis in anti-terror fight: Annan

The United Nations General Assembly and Security Council have provided a solid foundation for the struggle against terrorism, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today, reiterating his call to countries to sign the existing international treaties dealing with the scourge.

"Security Council resolution 1373 is a very good basis for fighting terrorism through international cooperation, through political, diplomatic, financial and other means," Mr. Annan told reporters at his year-end news conference in New York.

"I would urge all Member States to sign the 12 conventions that have been authorized by the General Assembly," he said. "Sign, ratify and implement them so that we all have a common framework as we move forward."

The Secretary-General also acknowledged that defining terrorism has preoccupied Member States and became particularly acute as the Assembly discussed a comprehensive convention on terrorism. The current draft of the treaty, he noted, does not take away any rights of the accused or interfere with other legal instruments, like international humanitarian law.

But what we can all accept, Mr. Annan said, is that "anyone who kills…or targets innocent civilians cannot claim that it can be justified, regardless of their cause."

Asked about the possibility of expanding the war on terrorism to other countries such as Iraq, the Secretary-General stressed that those discussions - and the countries that have been mentioned - have been taking place outside the UN and the Security Council and reiterated that he thought it would be unwise to do so.

"I have not seen any evidence linking Iraq to what happened on 11 September and any attempt to do that can exacerbate the situation and raise tensions in a region that is already under strain because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he said.

At the same time, Iraq will also have to understand that it has to begin responding to the Security Council resolutions on its alleged weapons programme, Mr. Annan said, particularly with respect to the return of UN inspectors.

“I don’t see any signal that the inspectors are about to go back to Iraq but we also live in a world where unpredictable things happen,” he said, adding that Council members were discussing a resolution that would refine the sanctions by ensuring that the population could be helped while at the same time continuing to apply pressure on the Iraqi leadership.