Defeating terror requires dedication by all, Spanish leader tells Security Council

Defeating terror requires dedication by all, Spanish leader tells Security Council

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar
Defeating terrorism - which threatened peace and security at every level - required the active commitment and broad-based cooperation on the part of all countries, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of Spain told the United Nations Security Council today.

The Prime Minister, whose delegation chairs the Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) that was created in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States, spoke at the outset of the open debate as the 15-nation body considered threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. The full Council membership participated in the ensuing discussion.

The Committee was established to monitor Council resolution 1373, which called on Member States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, refrain from providing any support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support and commit such acts.

In his statement, Prime Minister Aznar labelled terrorism the twenty-first century's "new totalitarianism," and said that shifting paradigms in recent years had defined a new international order. "We are not facing a clash of civilizations," he stressed, "but rather, the clash of a new barbarity against civilization."

"We must keep our societies and the relations between peoples free from mistrust, fear and threat that terrorism wishes to disseminate," the Prime Minister said, for to accept that rigid perceptions and antagonisms truly existed between certain civilizations, religions or cultures amounted to falling into the trap of dialectics set by the terrorists - "practitioners of monologue and the enemies of dialogue."

Even though the nature and magnitude of terrorism's threat had been obvious long before 11 September, "terrorism has never been, and will never be a solution," he said, emphasizing that for all its appalling brutality, the scourge was "a menacing but not invincible evil." Defeating terrorism required generous efforts, active collaborations and involvement by all, whether or not one had been harmed by the scourge.

In order to meet that challenge, Prime Minster Aznar said the CTC must be provided with the means and capacity for supervising and facilitating assistance to countries, as well as for coordination with other international and regional organizations on counter-terrorism strategies.

"Cooperation with the disarmament agencies, especially those dealing with weapons of mass destruction, must be a priority," he added. Drawing up a general list of terrorist organizations should be considered. It was also essential to reinforce the mechanisms aimed at curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the availability of such weapons to terrorist groups.