20 April 200200:08

SPEECH BY RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ANATOLY SAFONOV AT THE JOINT SESSION OF THE OSCE STANDING COUNCIL AND THE FORUM FOR SECURITY COOPERATION, VIENNA, APRIL 17, 2002

780-18-04-2002

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Unofficial translation from Russian

Esteemed Chairmen,

First of all I would like to thank you for this opportunity to speak at the joint session of the OSCE Standing Council and the Forum for Security Cooperation and share with you my views about Russia's approaches toward the fight against international terrorism, and a possible strengthening of the OSCE's role in the dynamically developing international anti-terrorist cooperation.

For modern Russia international terrorism stopped being an abstract or theoretical thing a long time ago. This is a real evil against which our country is conducting a hard and uncompromising struggle. This is why the decision to support and take an active part in the creation of the anti-terrorist coalition was not incidental to us but became a logical continuation of our policy in this field.

The coalition's activity has helped create favorable conditions for political stabilization in Afghanistan and at the same time for reducing security threats on the southern border of Russia. At the same time, enhanced cooperation in the fight against terrorism has created prerequisites for a qualitative improvement of relations between Russia and countries in the Euro-Atlantic region and, in a broader context, for building an international security system called upon to counter new threats and challenges. Their transborder and all-pervasive nature require joint efforts and at the same time the harmonization of interests of the states belonging to different civilizations and going through different stages in the development of their social and economic sphere, and democratic institutions.

In our view, in order to be successful, the continued fight against international terrorism must be based on the following principles:

preserving the unity and integrity of the anti-terrorist coalition on the basis of international law, while enhancing the central coordinating role of the UN, and preventing unilateral forcible actions against sovereign states in circumvention of UN Security Council decisions;

enhancing effective international cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, rejecting "double standards" and attempts to use in one's own political interests the difficulties that other countries fighting terrorism may experience;

making the punishment of terrorists and their accomplices inevitable irrespective of the motives of their crimes;

ensuring human rights during anti-terrorist operations;

engaging the potential of civil society, developing democratic institutions, further promoting the supremacy of law;

taking measures to eliminate the root causes of terrorism, including efforts to prevent and settle regional conflicts, eliminate social and economic disproportions, racial, ethnic, religious and other discrimination;

putting an end to the financing of terrorism and in general gradually shifting the focus to preventive measures.

These principles fully determine our approach toward the development of anti-terrorist cooperation at the regional level. Acting by the principles of equal partnership, solidarity and transparency, building its work by the rule of consensus, and covering a large Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian space, the OSCE can play an important role in consolidating the anti-terrorist coalition and increasing its efficacy. The time-tested instruments of the Organization, which include confidence-building measures, arms control, the Code of Conduct dealing with military-political aspects of security, and other elements, may become relevant in a new way under the present conditions.

The OSCE's unquestionable achievement is the concept of general, comprehensive and indivisible security that interconnects the military-political, humanitarian and economic dimensions. This creates favorable prerequisites for member states to find proper responses not only to direct terrorist threats, but also to regional conflicts, social-economic, inter-ethnic and inter-faith problems that feed them. The Organization has accumulated certain experience that could be used in the fight against terrorism. First of all this concerns early-warning mechanisms, conflict prevention, crisis settlement, and post-conflict rehabilitation, including the training of police personnel, and the conduct of police and border monitoring. At the same time, the possibilities for joint fight against international terrorism provided for in the OSCE documents and mechanisms apparently have not been used in full yet.

We believe the decision and the Plan of Action for combating terrorism adopted at the Bucharest ministerial meeting represent the first considerable step toward the realization and enhancement of the OSCE anti-terrorist potential. This process was given an additional impetus by the Bishkek international conference that mapped out measures to increase overall efforts in countering the comprehensive threat of terrorism, illicit drug and arms trafficking, and other criminal activities, with a focus on Central Asia.

On the whole, we assess positively the so-called "route maps" prepared as a follow-up to the Bucharest Plan of Action, especially through the Forum for Security Cooperation. We hope that the upcoming seminar of experts on terrorism to be held on May 14-15, 2002 within the framework of the military-political dimension will help specify, with the participation of practioners, the benchmarks for further work, and take an inventory of existing and required resources for the attainment of the set goals. We expect that the meeting will on the whole help define more clearly the OSCE role among international and regional structures coordinating the world community's anti-terrorist efforts.

At the same time we understand the importance of avoiding the duplication of international mechanisms for coordinating anti-terrorist activities and primarily the substitution of the central role of the UN, its Security Council and its Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). On the other hand, it would hardly be expedient to limit the sphere of OSCE activities artificially now that the acuteness and the scale of new-generation threats make the consolidation of mutually supplementing capabilities of UN structures, regional and subregional organizations increasingly topical.

Another equally important threat, opposite to duplication, is the existence of blank zones, the absence of filled links, which makes any system ineffective. All this must be taken into account in developing the OSCE strategy for countering security and stability threats in the 21st century, the task of preparing which the Bucharest Council of Foreign Ministers assigned to the Standing Council and the Forum.

The OSCE must find its own niche in the international anti-terrorist efforts. In Bucharest, the member states made a decision to fulfill all of their obligations assumed under appropriate conventions and protocols dealing with the fight against terrorism. Wouldn't it be appropriate to this end to think about creating within the OSCE a mechanism of effective monitoring of member states' compliance with these obligations? In this context, the member states could first of all take necessary measures to prevent on their territories unlawful activities of peoples, groups or organizations that encourage, finance, organize, facilitate or participate in terrorist acts or other unlawful actions aimed at a forcible removal of the political regime in another OSCE member state.

The reinforcement of appropriate OSCE field missions with anti-terrorist and other related experts could be of certain practical value. In our view the efficacy of the OSCE field presence would grow considerably if the focus were placed on the concrete needs of interested states, and political engagements and "double standards" were rejected in specifying the mandate of a mission or in evaluating its performance. We are satisfied with the broad support given at the April 12 Standing Council session to the idea of creating within the OSCE Secretariat a mechanism of keeping record of member states' inquiries for using them then as the basis for preparing special projects or aid programs with appropriate donor support.

Among the priority tasks of strengthening the legal basis of anti-terrorist cooperation within the OSCE framework, we see rendering practical assistance to member states, upon request, in improving national legislative and administrative mechanisms, including in accordance with the recommendations of the UN Security Council's CTC regarding the implementation of Resolution 1373.

The drawn-out process of agreeing the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism has boosted the search for compromises in defining terrorism in regional and multi-lateral formats, for example within the European Union, the Organization of American States, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as a starting point in developing inter-state interaction in this field. In this connection, we believe it necessary to find as many points of contact as possible in existing OSCE approaches toward the definition of terrorist activities as a crime. We believe that a broader exchange of information on terrorist organizations operating against the member states, the creation within the OSCE Secretariat of a shared database containing information on terrorist sponsors on the basis of criteria set forth in the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism Financing could make the punishment of terrorists, militants, their accomplices, sponsors and patrons inevitable.

A key element of the OSCE anti-terrorist strategy must be close coordination of efforts with the UN, other organizations and structures for the purpose of blocking the channels of financial support to terrorism. We fully support the provision in the Bucharest Plan of Action for combating terrorism saying that the member states should play the role of catalyst in organizing special anti-terrorist training programs for the personnel of national financial institutions, including control over cash flows and the prevention of money laundering. It's high time we started implementing these decisions.

We are of very high opinion of the appropriate instruments provided for in the FATF recommendations, and we are trying to use them as much as possible. The Committee for Financial Monitoring recently created in our country makes an active contribution to these efforts. In our view, legal and technical mechanisms of freezing the assets of terrorist organizations by FATF standards must be accompanied by vigorous efforts to counter illicit drugs and arms trafficking, illegal trade in people, hostage taking and other crimes that are the main sources of financial support to terrorism in some regions.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me express the hope that the OSCE will make a weighty contribution to the international anti-terrorist efforts, including by strengthening mechanisms of regional security. Our country is ready to provide every assistance in achieving these goals. We hope in this connection for a serious discussion at the meeting of the secretary generals of the key universal, European and Euro-Atlantic organizations to be held in Lisbon in the first half of June of this year under the chairmanship of Portugal. We also hope for the energetic efforts on the part of the personal envoy of the Chairman in Office, Mr. Jan Troejborg.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that we know the OSCE potential, our own reserves and our weaknesses, we have impressive experience, we perceive the threat and we see its contours. Finally, we know to whom we are accountable: our peoples, our future and our children. Therefore, we will hardly be understood if this knowledge fails to galvanize us into action -- professional, large-scale, confident, timely and effective action.

Thank you.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Council of Europe (CoE)

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

European Union (EU)


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