[Documents menu] Documents menu

From davemull@alphalink.com.au Wed Oct 3 18:40:19 2001>br /> Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 22:57:53 -0500 (CDT)
Organization: South Movement
From: Dave Muller <davemull@alphalink.com.au>
Subject: [southnews] UNGA debate: Speeches of Libya & Malaysia
Article: 127479
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

On Agenda items 166: Measures to eliminate international terrorism

By H. E. Ambassador Hasmty Agam, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations, Tuesday 2 October 2001

Mr. President,

The issue before us has become even more pertinent and urgent following the recent terrorist attacks against the United States that resulted in enormous loss of lives and property. Malaysia strongly condemns the heinous acts of 11 September and fervently hopes that those responsible will be finally brought to justice. We share the grief of the people of the United States and other nations who had also lost their citizens. We, too, have lost a number of our own in the tragedy. The attacks were a shocking and cruel wake-up call for all of us to the danger of international terrorism, to which all countries are vulnerable, and which represents a most complex security challenge facing our global society today.

Mr. President,

2. Malaysia condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We regard all acts, methods and practices of terrorism as criminal acts that cannot be justified-regardless of the motivation of their perpetrators-when innocent defenseless civilians become their victims. Terrorism is the violent manifestation of hate and intolerance. It threatens the right to life, liberty and security. It engenders chaos, fear and insecurity, as well as instability and uncertainty on all fronts.

3. In the wake of the horrific attacks on the United States, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, had called for the convening of a world conference of leaders to discuss the issue of international terrorism because of the serious nature of this crime, which can affect all countries. While he understood the reasons for the ongoing planning to hunt down terrorist groups and stop terrorism, he was against the use of force that would result in the victimization of innocent civilians. He felt that retaliatory actions through the use of force would not solve the problem as they might only provoke counter-retaliation and are therefore fraught with risks.

4. In my Prime Minister's view, for global efforts to effectively curb terrorism, it is important for the international community to deal with the phenomenon objectively and impartially. The international conference, which should be organized by the United Nations, must examine the issue of terrorism comprehensively, including its definition, root causes and appropriate measures to deal with it. The measures that are now being contemplated, including the use of armed force, would not solve the problem as long as issues related to the oppression of peoples in several parts of the world, particularly in Palestine, remain unresolved. While Malaysia strongly supports efforts to curb terrorism, it is timely for the world community to give serious attention to solving problems which drove people to resort to terrorism. This is not to excuse, or mitigate blame on the use of terror, as there can be no excuse or mitigation whatsoever for such acts, but to appreciate the complexity of the problem of international terrorism so that we will be better able to combat it with all the means at our disposal.

5. Both the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) had already called for the convening of an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations for the purpose of formulating a joint organized response to international terrorism. Regrettably, although this proposal has been included in the agenda of the Ad Hoc Committee established by the General Assembly in its resolution 51/210, no progress has been made so far in realizing it.

6. Given the enormity of the challenge confronting the international community, the convening of a UN conference on terrorism would serve the purpose of galvanizing collective international effort based on a broad consensus at the highest possible level. It will provide the necessary political impetus towards completing ongoing efforts at the United Nations to address the problem, in particular, the elaboration of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism and a convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. As we are all agreed that the recent terrorist attacks were not only directed against the United States but against all member states of this organization, it is important that this all-out war against this menace to civilized life must be waged here in the United Nations involving all member states, with each of us playing our full and appropriate role. We hope that this overwhelming expression of international solidarity and support for the anti-terrorist campaign would not be a mere flash in the pan, but the beginning of a serious ongoing effort here at the United Nations.

Mr. President,

7. The need for objectivity and impartiality is essential if terrorism is to be suppressed through collaborative efforts of the international community without any equivocation. This is particularly so, given the tendency in some quarters to associate terrorism with a particular group or community of people. The stereotyping of terrorism is not a constructive approach in dealing with the problem. It would be a great disservice to the cause that unites us in the wake of the recent tragic events. It creates mistrust among nations when what is urgently required is to build confidence among them that is so essential in the global effort to combat this menace. Terrorism is the common foe of the global community;

it should not be coloured with ethnicity or any form of religious affinity.

Terrorism has no religion or nationality and serves only the selfish personal or group interests of the perpetrators and their sponsors. Herein lies the importance of the need to enhance greater understanding among the peoples of the world through a dialogue among civilizations which, we sincerely hope, would be given a higher priority in the agenda of the United Nations.

8. In addressing the problem of terrorism, there is a need for States to reflect on their own practice in dealing with internal security situations. Actions, carried out by the security apparatus of the State, in the name of security, which create widespread fear and apprehension among the civilian population, are as inhumane and as devastating as any other form of terrorism. In taking security measures, States must be guided by the principle of proportionate response. This is especially relevant in the context of the current situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory where excessive force has been used to intimidate a population fighting for their rights. Such use of force by states resulting in massive loss of lives, injury and extreme hardships to the civilian population must be viewed with equal contempt as that carried out by terrorist groups. This aspect of the use of force by states must also be dealt with if our collective response to terrorism is to be a credible one.

Mr. President,

9. In confronting the challenge before us, my delegation strongly supports the ongoing efforts in the Sixth Committee and the General Assembly to elaborate a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. However, in crafting such a convention, it is important to arrive at a clear and universally agreed definition of terrorism. Without an agreed definition, it would be difficult to formulate or enforce international agreements to combat this scourge. Acts of pure terrorism, involving attacks against innocent civilian populations-which cannot be justified under any circumstances-should be differentiated from the legitimate struggles of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation for self-determination and national liberation, as recognized by the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and other international declarations. All member states of this Organization that had gained their freedom through liberation struggle or war of independence would fully appreciate and support this inherent, inalienable and legitimate right. We earnestly hope that the urgency of the current international efforts to combat terrorism would spur negotiations on the draft convention during this session of the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

10. Any discussion on international terrorism will not be complete without a discussion on the threat posed by nuclear terrorism. The recent daring terrorist attacks against the United States, using sophisticated methods, have considerably heightened this concern, and demand our serious response to the inherent risks of nuclear terrorism. While ultimately, the most effective way of preventing acts of nuclear terrorism lies in the total elimination of nuclear weapons-which should remain our long-term objective-the early adoption of an international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism would be an important first step towards eliminating that threat. Equally important would be the strengthening of all existing treaties, agreements and norms aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. President,

11. The strengthening of international cooperation is essential if we are to succeed in our common but difficult quest. The tasks ahead of us are enormously challenging, requiring all of our national, regional and international efforts and cooperation aimed at, among others, apprehending and bringing to justice the perpetrators; concluding agreements and other cooperative arrangements towards that end; implementing the relevant international legal instruments which we are parties to; and denying asylum to terrorists and freezing'their assets. Malaysia will do its part. We will support all efforts aimed at promoting international cooperation in combating terrorism in accordance with the principles of international law and the UN Charter. In this regard, Resolution 1373 (2001) adopted by the Security Council, last Friday, provides an important framework for this cooperation.

Thank you, Mr. President.