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UN Fails To Agree on Terror Convention Language - 2001-10-27

After two weeks of work a committee of the United Nations General Assembly has failed to agree on terms for a new international treaty on terrorism.

The special committee was charged with developing a new draft international treaty to fight terrorism. But after two weeks of closed-door work, the committee was unable to agree on a final proposal.

General Assembly spokesman Jan Fischer says the work was not in vain, that agreement was reached on a number of provisions but that three items prevented a final proposal. The points of disagreement involve the definition of terrorism, how a new comprehensive treaty will work with existing treaties on terrorism and the issue of "exclusion."

Mr. Fischer explained what the debate on "exclusion" is about. "There is a discussion about whether this draft convention should contain exclusions for actions taken by military forces or actions taken by national liberation movements," he said.

Mr. Fischer indicated that failure by the special committee does not mean that the concept of a comprehensive anti-terror treaty is dead. The matter will now be referred back to a standing committee of the U.N. General Assembly for a decision on how to go about resolving the outstanding issues.

Over the years, the United Nations has developed numerous international treaties to fight terrorism. However, most of them deal with specific issues such as airplane hijacking, hostage-taking and control of explosive materials. Now, however, the idea is to develop a comprehensive anti-terrorism treaty that will address the problem in all its aspects.