Statement on Measures to Eliminate International
by the Representative of Sri Lanka to the Ad Hoc Committee
I wish to associate my delegation with the sentiments that have been
expressed by others on your election to the Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee
on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism. We do appreciate the
responsibilities that ate cast upon you and confident that you will
discharge your responsibilities in a manner that is acceptable to all
delegations. Felicitations of my delegation are also extended to other
Members of the Bureau who were unanimously elected.
Sri Lanka attaches the highest importance to the work of the Ad Hoc
Committee. My delegation has been closely involved with the work of
this Committee since its inception. It is a matter of particular gratification
for us to see the adoption by the UNGA of two important Conventions
negotiated in this Committee, namely the International Convention for
the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the International Convention
for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism, within a short span of
three years. In this connection, we wish to place on record our sincere
appreciation of the work undertaken by the previous Chairman, Ambassador
Philippe Kirsche of Canada.
For Sri Lankans, international cooperative efforts to combat terrorism
are not an academic issue. In recent times we have faced the unparalleled
carnage of terror that has been unleashed on innocent men, women and
children by a ruthless terrorist group operating within and outside
Sri Lanka. This group operates with impunity in a number of foreign
countries, behind the fašade of a plethora of political, religious,
cultural and even humanitarian organizations, collecting funds ostensibly
for legitimate purposes. But the reality is that, these funds are channeled
for purchase of weapons, ammunition and high explosives to sustain their
campaign of terror. Sri Lanka is not the only country faced with such
a dilemma. There are many others. Only a concerted and collective effort
by the international community could effectively combat the activities
of such groups.
Focussing on the issue, the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Lakshman
kadirgamar in his address to the recently concluded 54th Session of
the United Nations General Assembly states that:
Among the new problems of unparalleled menace and danger that have
emerged toward the close of the present century are heightened terrorist
activities in many countries and ever proliferating criminal activities
in the areas of narcotics, human trafficking and arms smuggling. I
have on each occasion that I have come to this podium argued that
terrorism must be tackled collectively if it is to be tackled effectively
He further stated that:
Those who resort to terror in pursuit of their political objectives
must never be permitted or encouraged to believe that unremitting
terror will ultimately bring its reward in recognition and results.
On the contrary, it is only the recognition that a campaign of terror
will put its exponents beyond the pale of civilised discourse that
will persuade terrorists to seek other ways of gaining a hearing.
This is the rationale for our support for all international efforts
in promoting cooperation amongst States in combating the evil menace
of international terrorism. We are particularly gratified by the recent
adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of the
Financing of Terrorism, which was opened for signature on 10 January
2000. In demonstration of its support, Sri Lanka signed the Convention
on the very first day it was opened for signature. At present, Sri Lanka
is in the process of preparing enabling legislation to pave the way
for our ratification of the Convention. We wish to extend once again
our appreciation to the Government of France for its timely initiative.
It is our hope that the Convention will come into force as speedily
as possible, beginning a new era of international cooperation.
Looking ahead, we have before us several responsibilities. Completion
of the work on the draft International Convention for the Suppression
of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, is one such task. The Ad Hoc Committee
has devoted much time and effort on this Convention which is almost
complete, with one outstanding issue to be finalised. We should, therefore,
focus on this draft Convention once again and give it the necessary
momentum to reach a finality. We do appreciate the fact that some delegations
have certain concerns. However, we are confident that given the spirit
of accommodation and compromise which we share in this forum, achieving
of a consensus on this draft Convention will be possible. My delegation
will continue to extend its cooperation to you in your efforts toward
reaching such a consensus. I wish to thank the Coordinator of Australia
for her contribution in this direction.
The Ad Hoc Committee has also been entrusted with the task of addressing
the question of convening a high level conference under the auspices
of the United Nations to formulate a joint organised response of the
international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
This would require us to address in particular the outcome that we seek
to achieve from this initiative. We believe that our overall objective
should be to ensure that the proposed conference results in the working
out of concrete practical measures of cooperation that will help the
international community in making an effective and meaningful response
for combating the phenomenon of terrorism which threatens the very fabric
of our societies.
In the course of this year, we also have to deal with the proposal
for the elaboration of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
This work will commence during the 55th Session of the General Assembly,
within the framework of a Working Group of the Sixth Committee. We are
thankful to the Government of India for its proposal and Sri Lanka looks
forward to working together on the draft Convention during the forthcoming
Session of the General Assembly.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I wish to assure you and the members of
the Bureau that, as in the past, the delegation of Sri Lanka will actively
participate in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee and the Working Group
of the Sixth Committee.