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UN officials hail progress achieved at Vienna symposium on fighting terrorism

UN officials hail progress achieved at Vienna symposium on fighting terrorism

Antonio M. Costa
As a United Nations symposium on combating international terrorism wrapped up today, UN officials said the ideas generated at the meeting would serve to increase the momentum in the fight against the scourge.

"I want to report a sense of accomplishment - an unusual sense of accomplishment," said Antonio Maria Costa, who heads the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP). "I have attended a large number of academic and other symposia and conferences but I have never had the feeling I had here [in terms of] political accomplishment," he told reporters at a press conference held in connection with the two-day event.

A large number of participants had called attention to the potential role of ODCCP in fighting terrorism, he noted, pledging that “we will be carefully examining what they have suggested.”

Mr. Costa, who is also the Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna, hailed the achievements of the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and stressed the "complementarity" between its work and that of ODCCP.

CTC Chairman Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom agreed and underscored the central role to be played by the UN in the global fight against terrorism.

"The reaction to stop the potential of future terrorism or actual terrorists who may do future acts has to be globally coordinated or else terrorism migrates to where it is safer for them to be," he observed.

The job of the CTC - which was set up to implement Council resolution 1373, a landmark text adopted in the wake of the 11 September attacks against the United States - was to "raise the capacity of every Member of the UN to defeat terrorism," he stressed.

Shashi Tharoor, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, stressed that the world body's contribution to the fight against the menace could not be viewed statically.

"When we talk about the UN's efforts to combat terrorism, we are really taking a picture of a moving train, and as the train is moving, the tracks in front of it are still being laid," he said. "So you may have to wait a little longer to the final picture of the destination, but we know that our objectives are one and the same - and that is, of course, to defeat the scourge of terrorism."