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UN Says Nations Slow to Join in Counter-Terrorism


The head of the U.N. counter-terrorism agency says national governments are too slow in enacting legislation that will allow for effective international cooperation on the problem.

The executive director of the United Nations' counter-terrorism agency, Javier Ruperez, says a significant number of U.N. member states have yet to meet their obligations under Security Council resolution 1373.

That resolution, passed two weeks after the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, calls for countries to deny all forms of support for terrorist groups and to pass legislation making terrorism a criminal act.

Mr. Ruperez says while some progress has been made, "practically or almost nothing" has been done to facilitate cooperation in several key areas.

"I refer to customs, I refer to police cooperation, I refer to cooperation among intelligence services, law enforcement agencies, best practices, for instance, in the field of civil aviation, which are extremely needed just to be able to combat terrorism," said Javier Ruperez.

Mr. Ruperez is in Thailand for a five-day meeting of counter-terrorism experts that includes representatives from the World Customs Organization, Interpol, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

He said his office accepted the Thai government view that the violence in the south of the country, where more than 700 people have died since early 2004, was domestic-based and not linked to any international terrorist groups.

But he said that the origin of terrorism was irrelevant as far as his office is concerned.

"We do not as a matter of principle make any difference between international and national terrorism," he said. "We have been talking about terrorism or counter-terrorism - and after all terrorism is a method, it is not an ideology - and the method as such involves either international or national groupings."

The U.N. counter-terrorism body came into effect in 2004. Member nations are required by U.N. regulation to report to the body on a regular basis.

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