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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

59th Session of the UN General Assembly - The Fight Against Terrorism

Mr./Madame/Chairman/Chair

Iceland, as a member of the European Economic Area, the EEA, aligns itself with the statement made by my Dutch colleague earlier in this debate. Allow me, however, to make a few comments, beginning with thanking the Secretary General for the Report on “Measures to eliminate international terrorism” contained in document A/59/210, dated 5 August 2004.

The fight against terrorism is a struggle for the human values which the UN seeks to foster. In this fight we must bring the perpetrators to justice and eliminate their bases and networks. Both before and after the terrorist attacks on this city on 11 September 2001 the Security Council has condemned numerous terrorist acts, for example in Kenya, Bali, Moscow, Baghdad, Istanbul and Madrid. The events in Beslan in Southern Russia have not faded from our memory, nor will they for many a year. No individual or  group can justify such depths of depravity and credibly claim to be fighting oppression or to be building a just society. Any cause or grievance which such people may have are drowned out by the hideousness of the means by which they choose to advocate them.

Terrorism has a global reach threatening peace and security around the world, and as such all States as well as regional and international organizations must cooperate to eliminate this scourge. In this important task the role of the United Nations must continue to increase.

Resolution 1373 (2001), based on Chapter VII of the UN Charter, was a milestone as it requires States to create the necessary legislative and administrative framework to deal with various aspects of terrorism, especially terrorist financing.

Iceland has, and will, continue to work with the Counter Terrorism Committee, its Executive Directorate and the Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee. In the work of the First Committee of the General Assembly Iceland has consistently supported measures aiming at preventing terrorist groups from obtaining weapons of mass destruction. During the debates in the Third Committee Iceland has repeatedly voiced the view that in the fight against terrorism, international agreements on human rights and humanitarian law must be upheld.

 In the Sixth Committee, and its Ad Hoc Committee, the time consuming elaboration of the important draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and the draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism will hopefully be reaching its conclusion. Both  would be an important addition to the international legal framework aiming at the elimination of terrorism. Security Council Resolution 1566, adopted on the 8th of this month, should help in this connection as it attempts to define terrorism and calls on states to prevent, and if not prevented, to punish, and I quote: ”criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public, intimidate a population or compel a government or international organization to do or abstain from doing any act  that goes against existing treaties”. This most recent Resolution against terrorism states further that such acts“are under no circumstances justifiable by considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other similar nature.”

Being acutely aware of the importance of setting up a global legal regime to address terrorism, Iceland has ratified and actively implements the twelve UN Conventions and Protocols on terrorism as well as the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Iceland also urges States that have not yet ratified these instruments to do so as soon as possible.

Governments around the world are increasing their capacity to guarantee the safety of the public at large. For its part, the Icelandic Government is in the process of reorganizing and strengthening a Special Police Unit to deal among other issues with acts of terrorism. My authorities consider that plans for reducing the risk of terrorism require vigilance and continuous review and new procedures, for example in protecting vital air and maritime activities.

Thank you Mr./Madame/Chairman/Chair



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