What's In Blue

Posted Thu 3 May 2012

High-Level Meeting on Counter-Terrorism

Tomorrow (4 May), the Council is scheduled to hold a high-level event on counter-terrorism with a focus on strengthening international cooperation in the implementation of counter-terrorism obligations. The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, will preside and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will brief the Council. (The Secretary-General may include information from the third report on the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy which was published on 2 May.) This is the first high-level Council event on counter-terrorism since Turkey initiated a similar event during its presidency in September 2010.

A presidential statement is likely to be adopted at the end of the meeting. A draft text was circulated on 10 April and intensive negotiations at expert level began towards the end of April. Expert level negotiations took place this morning where a number of issues seem to have been resolved including language on territorial integrity, indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures and financing of terrorism. It appears one last issue remains and this may be dealt with either through bilateral negotiations or another meeting later today following which the text is likely to be put under silence procedure.

It appears that there have been several contentious issues. Besides differences over appropriate language on a number of issues, some countries, such as Pakistan, were concerned by what they perceived as the wide scope of the original draft. Apparently even after contentious references were removed, these countries were still uncomfortable with references in the current draft, which—in their view—encroach on the mandate of the General Assembly.

An example of one of these issues is reference in the presidential statement to a comprehensive convention on terrorism. This is an issue that is covered by the General Assembly, which established an ad hoc committee in December 1996 (Resolution 51/210). However, negotiations are deadlocked in the General Assembly, mainly due to disagreement over the scope of application of the definition of terrorism. This issue not only raises differing views on encroachment, but appears to be politically sensitive as well.

Another issue that appeared to pose a problem in the early stages of the negotiation of this draft presidential statement was that of state-sponsored terrorism.
The final outcome is likely to be a consensus document that will emphasise the importance of enhanced international cooperation in the implementation of counter-terrorism obligations and reiterate previous Council statements in this area.

The Council will consider the issue of counter-terrorism again in the second week of May when the chairs of the counter-terrorism related committees – the 1267/1989 Committee (Al-Qaida), the 1373 Committee (Counter-Terrorism Committee or CTC) and the 1540 Committee concerning weapons of mass destruction – are scheduled to brief.

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