7.11.2005

G8 Leaders Urge Comprehensive U.N. Convention on Terrorism

Rail, metro security among new initiatives in counterterrorism communiqué

The deadly July 7 bombing attacks in London during the opening of the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, brought the issue of counterterrorism to the fore of the international group’s agenda.

In a statement issued July 8, the G8 leaders (from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia) denounced “all terrorist acts as criminal,” adding that “there can be no excuse, no justification for such slaughter.”

The group pledged cooperation and coordination in disrupting known and suspected terrorists and their collaborators, and in preventing a new generation of terrorists from arising through, among other things, the promotion of tolerance, social and political rights, poverty reduction, and good governance.

The statement notes, however, that “conflict, oppression and poverty do not excuse or justify terrorism; the vast majority of people affected by these scourges do not choose the path of violence.”

“Terrorism itself exacerbates, often deliberately, the problems it claims to address.”

The summit produced a renewed commitment to improved information sharing, especially on the movement of terrorists across borders and, with the bombings of London’s public transportation system so fresh, a new joint effort to assess and develop best practices for rail and mass-transit security.

The group urged the United Nations to reach early agreement on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism when it holds its summit in September and to “reiterate the international community’s clear condemnation of terrorist acts.” It also embraced the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, initiated by Russia, as an additional instrument in the legal framework to fight terrorism.

The statement expresses the leaders’ “deepest sympathy for all those who have been injured or bereaved by terrorist attacks” and pledges continued work on protecting communities against attacks, minimizing the human and economic consequences terrorist acts, and respecting the rights of individuals and democratic values while responding to terrorism.

For additional information, see Response to Terrorism and G8 Summit 2005, Gleneagles, Scotland.

Following is the text of the G8 statement on counterterrorism:

(begin text)

G8 STATEMENT ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
2005 Summit
Gleneagles, Scotland

1. We, the leaders of the G8, are united in condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks in London. We express our deepest condolences to the victims and their families. We assure the people of the United Kingdom of our solidarity in the continuing struggles against terrorism. We denounce all terrorist acts as criminal, and reiterate that there can be no excuse, no justification for such slaughter. As we and our fellow leaders said yesterday, we are striving to combat poverty and to save and improve lives. The perpetrators of yesterday's attacks were intent on destroying lives. We will respond resolutely, together and severally, to this global challenge and work to bring terrorists to justice wherever they are.

2. We have carried forward initiatives to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists and other criminals, reinforce international political will to combat terrorism, secure radioactive sources and - as announced at Sea Island - ensure secure and facilitated travel. Today we commit ourselves to new joint efforts. We will work to improve the sharing of information on the movement of terrorists across international borders, to assess and address the threat to the transportation infrastructure, and to promote best practices for rail and metro security. We leave Gleneagles with a renewed commitment to work with partners in the UN and in other key international and regional fora. This tragedy strengthens our resolve to reach early agreement on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

Disrupting terrorists now

3. The immediate imperative is to reduce the threat from those already intent on terrorism. We have had considerable success, but must continue to enhance our efforts. We are working relentlessly to track down known and suspected terrorists and their collaborators, cut off their funding, impede their planning, disrupt their networks, deny them safe haven and bring them to justice. Collectively, we are developing a common understanding of the threat and assessing links between crime and terrorism and analysing how terrorists prepare for attacks.

4. As terrorists operate flexibly and internationally, so must we. Government, police and intelligence responses must be more effectively co-ordinated - both within and between States. Co-operation between external and internal intelligence and security agencies must be further improved. Law enforcers, intelligence collectors and analysts, policy makers and practitioners must co-operate and share information. Within the G8, we have developed common language on intelligence products, promoted sharing data on terrorists, especially to prevent terrorists' travel, and identified procedures to extract counter-terrorism intelligence from documents and other forms of information.

Preventing new generations of terrorists

5. But if we are to succeed in the long term, we must not only disrupt current terrorist activity: it is equally important to prevent more people turning to terrorism. Knowledge of the terrorists and their networks helps us to understand how and why individuals join these networks. Together we are analysing why individuals have chosen the path of violence and how, for example, terrorists use the internet to promote radicalisation and pursue recruitment.

6. Conflict, oppression and poverty do not excuse or justify terrorism: the vast majority of people affected by these scourges do not choose the path of violence. Terrorism itself exacerbates, often deliberately, the problems it claims to address. It remains our duty to do all we can to resolve conflict, confront oppression, reduce poverty and promote good governance. We must promote social and political rights and democratic reform, counter intolerance, encourage public debate and tolerant education, and foster understanding between cultures. These are important in themselves, but will also serve to undermine the terrorists' propaganda. One of our primary tasks is to work with civil society to foster the total rejection of terrorism by people at large.

Protecting communities against terrorist attack

7. As well as reducing the terrorist threat, we must reduce our vulnerability to attack. We must make ourselves a harder target at home and abroad through better protective security.

8. At Sea Island, we announced the Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI) - a 28-point action plan, much of which we have already completed. Over the last twelve months, the G8 has worked on measures to counter attacks on aviation using surface to air missiles, to restrict the proliferation and smuggling of these weapons, and to improve flight-deck security. We are improving screening of individuals and baggage at airports, and States' enforcement of aviation security regimes. We have helped spread best practice on the use of sky marshals. We have established a G8 aviation security contact network, and are enhancing our co-operation against trans-national document fraud. We have developed a methodology to assess port security. We will continue to strengthen and broaden this co-operation, encouraging the active engagement of the relevant international organisations, to raise international standards of transport security.

Minimising the consequences of attacks

9. We must also be well prepared to minimise the human and economic consequences of terrorist attacks. Governments and businesses must have continuity plans in place, including for effective protection of economic and financial systems. The public should be kept informed and, when necessary, alerted and warned. We have worked collectively on best practice to respond to terrorist attacks, particularly chemical, biological and radiological attacks. We have agreed principles for responding to a crisis, held G8 exercises on critical infrastructure protection and are sharing best practice on the management of attack sites.

The terrorist threat and the rights of individuals

10. Many terrorists aspire to use violence on a massive scale, and some even to use weapons of mass destruction. Our response must remain proportionate and respect our common democratic values. We must protect individuals while upholding human rights in accordance with international law. We express our deepest sympathy for all those who have been injured or bereaved by terrorist attacks.

Building international capacity

11. We are committed to work together with the UN and other international and regional organisations to build the political will and capacity of other countries to counter terrorism. Since its establishment at Evian, the Counter-Terrorism Action Group (CTAG) has maximised the impact of our resources by co-ordinating counter-terrorism assistance wherever such assistance is needed. It collaborates with the Financial Action Task Force and the international financial institutions to help combat terrorist financing. So far this year, it has focussed particularly on enhancing co-ordination in Africa and the Middle East. It will focus on South East Asia later in the year. The engagement of regional organisations is vital to our efforts. Regional counter-terrorism mechanisms and centres of excellence must be adequately resourced.

Enhancing international partnership

12. We welcome the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, initiated by the Russian Federation, and look forward to its early entry into force. We call on our partners at the UN Summit in September to reiterate the international community's clear condemnation of terrorist acts. We also urge our partners to capitalise on the new momentum at the UN and conclude swiftly the draft Comprehensive Convention for the Suppression of International Terrorism. These instruments will complement the broad legal framework set out in Security Council resolutions and the 12 UN counter-terrorism conventions and protocols. We urge universal compliance with all these international obligations, norms and standards. It is vital that States engage fully with the Security Council in monitoring their implementation.

Conclusion

13. Today, we commit to new joint efforts to advance our counter-terrorism co-operation. These will include work to improve the sharing of information on the movement of terrorists across international borders; to assess and address the threat to the transportation infrastructure; and to promote best practices for rail and metro security. We will continue to strengthen and broaden this co-operation, and report our progress in St. Petersburg in 2006.

14. As G8 leaders, we pledge the sustained commitment required to identify and reduce the terrorist threat, to promote freedom and security, to protect democracy and to ensure the rule of law. We call upon all States to join us in this crucial endeavour.

(end text)


Source: International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State

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