Security Council hears report by chair of UN counterterrorism committee

Addressing a public meeting of the Security Council, Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom said the landmark resolution which had established the CTC – resolution 1373 – aimed to raise the average level of government performance against terrorism across the globe. During its first 90-day period, the Committee had issued guidance to States on the submission of reports and had published a directory of contact points to promote global cooperation. A pool of independent experts had been selected to advise the Committee, which was acting with maximum transparency, he said. In addition the CTC had – to the extent possible given the sensitive nature of counter-terrorism work – made its documents public and maintained an up-to-date comprehensive Web site To date, 122 States had submitted reports to the Committee, in a demonstration of “excellent cooperation,” he said, noting that others should be encouraged to do so and suggesting that perhaps a trust fund should be established to finance the CTC’s work. Looking to future activities, Ambassador Greenstock said the CTC would respond confidentially to each government on its respective report, offering comments which could include a request for more information or for clarification. The Committee might also suggest areas where further legislation or executive measures were needed to upgrade the State’s capacity to fight against terrorism. It would also, if appropriate, identify possible sources of expertise or relevant assistance programmes. While explaining the CTC’s purpose, the Chairman also clarified that the Committee was not a tribunal for judging States. He stressed that the CTC would not trespass onto other areas of competence of other parts of the UN system. Further, the Committee would not define terrorism in a legal sense, although its members had a fair idea of what constituted blatant terrorism. Nor did the CTC plan to issue lists of terrorist organizations, he added. If it could not settle politically controversial issues, the CTC would refer them back to the Council. Ambassador Greenstock’s report came at the outset of an extensive debate which saw the participation of over two dozen States. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan also addressed the Council at the outset of its discussion.