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        General Assembly
24 January 2005

Original: English

General Assembly
Fifty-ninth session
Official Records

Sixth Committee

Summary record of the 8th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 19 October 2004, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. Bennounna ............................................................................. (Morocco)
later: Mr. Díaz Paniagua (Vice-Chairman).................................................... (Costa Rica)


Agenda item 148: Measures to eliminate international terrorism (continued )

The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.

Agenda item 148: Measures to eliminate international terrorism ( continued ) (A/59/37, A/59/210 and Corr.1, and A/59/383-S/2004/758; A/C.6/59/L.10)


39. Mr. Lenk (Israel) said that while all the years of discussion and debate were commendable, since counter-terrorism must be at the top of the international community’s agenda, he wondered what there was to debate. Could any fair-thinking citizen of the planet really condone terrorism? Undoubtedly the good will and positive intentions of the members of the Sixth Committee would ultimately lead to agreement and the condemnation of terrorism everywhere, yet it was necessary to consider what conclusions terrorist organizations around the globe might draw from the length of time respected diplomats had spent quibbling over articles, clauses and words, thereby raising doubts whether some heinous acts might sometimes, somehow, be in order.

40. Every terrorist saw himself as a freedom fighter and wanted to achieve some sort of political end through the random murder of civilians, on the pretext that such action was defensible in the circumstances. But everyone knew they were wrong, even those who continued to speak of “root causes” while sending messages of sympathy to the innocent victims of terrorist attacks perpetrated through deceit and disrespect for religious buildings. Such acts were crimes against all humanity and must not only be condemned, but actively challenged and fought by joint action and political will. Strong and unequivocal legal documents should be part of that effort.

41. Recently, a small minority of States had cynically stifled progress on the draft conventions under consideration. Consensus, while truly worthy, was not a panacea. The positions of the Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference were untenable and at odds with the thinking of ordinary people all over the world. It was, however, possible to find a way forward on both conventions that preserved and respected the memory of the victims of international terror.

42. Some quarters wished to deny that the clear words contained in Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1566 (2004) actually applied when the spectre of international terrorism raised its head. Some opined that there was not even a “war” at all. His country recognized the challenge in whatever shape it came: arms shipments, the hosting of terrorist organization offices or the recruiting of foreign nationals to carry out crimes. The web of international terror had a massive daily impact on the lives of Israel’s citizens and of millions of innocent men, women and children around the world. For his Government, the fight against terrorism had been a total war and not an ad hoc response to a localized event, since the first responsibility of a Government was to protect its citizens within the framework of international law.

43. There was plenty of common action that States could take to fill the gaps in their counter-terrorism programmes, because the development of joint law enforcement instruments could be used as tools in the fight against terrorism. The Sixth Committee’s role was to enact strong documents so as to ensure that it was not guilty of betraying those who had died as a result of acts of international terrorism.


The meeting rose at 1.15 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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