Since this is the first time I take the floor I would like to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the Sixth Committee. Congratulations also go to other members of the Bureau on their election and I would like to reassure you of my delegation´s full cooperation and support.
Allow me, at the outset, to thank Secretary General, Kofi Annan, for the leadership he has shown over a number of years in helping the UN to address the scourge of terrorism. I would also like to express appreciation for the unstinting efforts of former president of the General Assembly, Mr. Jan Eliasson, in working for consensus on the global counter terrorism strategy.
The peace, security, wellbeing and prosperity of individuals and nations alike is at stake in the fight against terrorists. The potential for catastrophic terrorism using weapons of mass destruction is real and present. It has been said already that terrorism affects disproportionately developing countries, both because many terrorism acts take place in these countries and because the economic ramifications of terrorist acts in industrialised countries has a knock-on effect on developing countries.
The only viable response against it is a collective response of all nations and it is for this reason that the United Nations have a crucial role to play in this field. No other institution in the world has the means of unifying nations in the fight against this evil and there is no better venue for nations to forge their protective measures against it.
The UN have taken many important steps to fight terrorism and many things have been achieved. There are already 16 UN counter-terrorism conventions and protocols in place We have adopted the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The template provided by the strategy establishes a balanced approach to addressing terrorism taking into account exacerbating factors, hard measures, capacity building and the need to keep the issue of human rights in the forefront. This strategy should be our guide in the ongoing struggle against terrorism.
But there is more to be done. The next obvious step to take is to conclude the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and we urge all Member States to work towards that important goal. Iceland is of the view that it would be of value to define terrorism. The Secretary-General presented the basis of a definition which deserves further attention. The deliberate targeting of civilians is unacceptable. The clear moral force which such a definition carries would of itself concentrate the minds of governments and assist them in bringing measures to bear against terrorist organisations.
It is our hope that we can make progress on the Convention during this General Assembly. Iceland is willing to work with colleagues to this end.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.