Annan outlines UN vision to fight terrorism

10th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 March 2005, MADRID-UN chief Kofi Annan was to deliver a global strategy for fighting terrorism on the eve of commemorations in Madrid for the train bombings, one of the worst attacks ever in Europe.

10 March 2005

MADRID-UN chief Kofi Annan was to deliver a global strategy for fighting terrorism on the eve of commemorations in Madrid for the train bombings, one of the worst attacks ever in Europe.

The leader of the world body was expected to lay out a plan that would call for preventing and confronting terrorism while adhering to human rights principles, officials said.

His speech was to be made at the close of a three-day conference on terrorism taking place in the Spanish capital.

High security surrounded the address, to be attended by King Juan Carlos of Spain, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, and the presidents of Afghanistan, Algeria, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan and Portugal.

A NATO AWACS surveillance plane was providing air security over the capital, while more than 7,000 police officers were deployed in the streets.

Other top officials to be present included US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Interpol head Ronald Noble, Palestinian negotiations minister Saeb Erakat, EU anti-terror coordinator Gijs de Vries and International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.

Participants at the conference have been studying the various aspects of terrorism, its effects, and the options in tackling it.

Steps were also made towards finding a universally accepted definition of terrorism- one that would get around the "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist" quandry by stating it was any act intended to kill or hurt civilians with the aim of influencing governments.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, democratic reform in the Arab world and other issues filled the conference agenda- but a recurrent theme was also the erosion of civil liberties and human rights brought about in particular by the United States in its "war on terror".

Several speakers, including former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, said the Iraq war had generated anti-US militancy while domestic laws were increasingly infringing on citizens' freedoms.

The debate at the conference came as Britain's parliament watered down a controversial anti-terrorism bill which seeks to curb civil rights in the name of national security.

On Friday, Annan and the other top participants at the conference will attend ceremonies marking the one-year anniversary of the 11 March,  2004 train blasts that killed 191 people and wounded 1,900 others in an attack blamed on an Islamic extremist cell linked to Al-Qaeda.

The day will begin with the bells of the 650 churches in and around Madrid ringing for five minutes from 7:37 am - the moment the bombs exploded.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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