UN must play bigger role in fighting the terrorist threat

9th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 March 2005, MADRID - Greater UN involvement is needed to fight terrorism, 200 experts from around the world told a conference in Madrid.

9 March 2005

MADRID - Greater UN involvement is needed to fight terrorism, 200 experts from around the world told a conference in Madrid.

However other speakers said reform in the Arab world and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were also crucial.

The analysts, from 52 countries, outlined their views in a report to the symposium which brings together dozens of current and former world leaders, as the Spanish capital prepared to mark the first anniversary of the 11 March train bombings on Friday.

Greater international cooperation, especially at the level of intelligence-gathering and -sharing, was needed, they said in a joint paper presented in a plenary session.

But the UN Security Council should also be used to impose sanctions on states helping terrorists, and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty should be strengthened by extending greater support to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Terrorism "cannot be eliminated -- but it can be contained," one expert, Louise Richardson of Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute, told the conference.

The experts urged the spread of democracy everywhere, but especially in places of great suffering where "grievances are invoked as justification by terrorists."

They added that "democracy must not be imposed from above, it must be built from within the society but supported by the international community."

The recommendations, fleshed out in Internet dialogue established months before the start of the summit started on Tuesday, largely bolstered Europe's position
of involving the UN and contrasted with the United States' go-it-alone stance and reliance on its military might.

Indeed, US President George W. Bush's "war on terror"- and the consequences of his war on Iraq- came in for much criticism at the conference.

The moderator of one of several panels, Rob Malley, director of a US Middle East think tank, suggested that while the United States wanted to foster Arab democracy generally, it had an image problem.

"I give credit to the Bush administration for putting the spotlight on (democratic) reform" in Arab countries, but the impression of US anti-Arab bias was hamstringing such change, he said.

The United States "has to be seen as acting not in self-interest but for the good of the Arabs," he said, urging Washington to pressure important allies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The Palestinian negotiations minister, Saeb Erakat, who was on the same panel, said the United States, the main sponsor of the "road map" peace plan in the Middle East, should look beyond Gaza if it wanted to see a real Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

"I hope President Bush will find it in his heart to say Gaza is the end of phase one of the roadmap," Erakat told the panel.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived on Wednesday for a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
On Thursday, he was due to address the conference, and on Friday he was to attend official ceremonies commemorating the Madrid train bombings last year
which killed 191 people.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news


0 Comments To This Article