The new head of the United Nations Counter-terrorism Committee's (CTC) Executive Directorate today outlined plans to tackle the scourge by working with allies in the fight and operating with maximum efficiency.
"I'll try and do my utmost to fulfil my tasks at the end of the day to produce something which would be considered by the world at large to have been a successful counter-terrorism activity," Javier Ruperez told reporters at his first news conference in New York.
The CTC draws its mandate from Security Council resolution 1373 - adopted in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks against the United States - which compels countries to report regularly on their efforts to combat terrorism.
Mr. Ruperez hailed progress since the measure's passage. The sensitivity concerning terrorism has been changed around the world "precisely because of the existence of that resolution," he said.
On staffing for the office he heads, Mr. Ruperez pledged to make proposals on staffing shortly, but estimated that 30 to 40 people would be required. "I want to have a very lean and efficient structure," he explained.
He said his future activities would include a visit to Washington, D.C., to meet with representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS), which he said "has developed a very robust system of counter-terrorism measures."
Mr. Ruperez said he also anticipated talks with officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was "doing a very good job as far as controlling terrorist financing."
Asked about the current situation in Iraq, he said, "What we are watching right now in Iraq has all the appearance of terrorist acts, and those people who are using violence for the purpose of achieving political goals and on the way killing civilians, innocent people, and using this indiscriminate violence to me are terrorists," he said.
"Terrorism is trying to eat up our own reasons for being," he observed. "It is the fight against reason, it is the fight against the principles of the United Nations."
A national of Spain, Mr. Ruperez said terrorism has sadly been a part of both his national and personal life. "I was kidnapped by the Basque terrorists in 1979," he recalled.
Spain had been able to assert its power as a democratic State. "I think that we were able to build up a very strong sense of what we wanted to achieve against the terrorists," he said. "Even if it does take place, the world will continue, and democracy will continue, and freedom will continue.
"We know that the fight will be a bit longer, but at the end of the day we will prevail," he said.