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Transcript of address to the United Nations General Assembly, New York, on measures to eliminate international terrorism.

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4 October 2002





Australia remains resolute in the global struggle against terrorists and terrorism. Given the insidious and trans [cross] boundary reach of today’s terrorist movements and tactics, Australia is convinced the problem needs to be tackled comprehensively by the international community - through a full complement of measurers, multilateral, regional, bilateral and domestic.

Australia is strongly committed to working within the UN framework to combat terrorism and terrorist financing. Australia welcomed the timely and appropriate passage by the Security Council of Resolution 1373, which has become the cornerstone of global action against terrorism. We fully support the Resolution and regard the requirements it places on us, and other UN member states, with extreme seriousness. We have given priority to working both at home and internationally towards its full implementation.

Australia has provided an expert to the Counter-Terrorism Committee established under the Resolution, and has nominated three additional experts to be called upon by the Committee as required.

Australia is now a party to 11 of 12 anti-terrorism conventions. Australia acceded to the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings on 9 August 2002, and ratified the Terrorism Financing Convention on 26 September 2002. We are considering our position with regard to the Convention on Marking of Plastic Explosives (MARPLEX).

As coordinator of outstanding issues, we are committed to assisting efforts to finalise the proposed Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism, and the draft Nuclear Terrorism Convention. An enormous amount of work has been done by member states over a long period to craft these two important Conventions. The Comprehensive Convention, in particular, has been developed to the point where the issues, which remain to be resolved so that the Convention can be concluded, have been clearly identified. While we do not underestimate the difficulty of resolving these issues, we see the Comprehensive Convention as an opportunity for all of us to further demonstrate our shared commitment to the strongest possible legal regime against terror. We hope that this Committee will be able to make further progress during the informal consultations which will be held on 15 and 16 October, and we look forward to working constructively with all delegations towards that end.


As part of the global coalition, Australia is making a substantive military commitment to the war against terrorism, including through a special forces detachment on the ground in Afghanistan and air force support.

Within our own region, Australia continues to encourage greater cooperation to combat terrorism. We are actively engaged in counter-terrorism activity and cooperation in major regional fora. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) adopted a Declaration on Terrorist Financing at its Ministerial Meeting on 31 July 2002, as well as an Intersessional Mechanism on Terrorism. Australia co-chaired with Thailand an ARF Workshop on Terrorism Prevention in Bangkok in April 2002. The Nasonini Declaration on Regional Security was adopted by the Pacific Islands Forum on 17 August 2002 and recognised the need for immediate and sustained regional action in response to terrorist threats. Australia also sponsored with the US, NZ and the Forum Secretariat, a counter terrorism workshop for Pacific Island countries held in March. The representative of Fiji will speak later in this debate in some greater detail on developments in the Pacific region to combat terrorism on behalf of all members of the Pacific Islands Forum Group, including Australia.

Australia and Indonesia announced in September that we will co-host a regional Conference on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, in December this year. The conference will augment and contribute to existing initiatives being undertaken by the UN Counter Terrorism Committee and other organisations. Australia and Indonesia believe that the meeting will enable countries in our region to strengthen further their individual efforts to prevent and counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism, particularly by identifying capacity-building needs to meet existing and new obligations.

In addition to these regional initiatives, Australia considers that strong cooperation between regional governments is critical in combating terrorism, especially in the exchange of information and intelligence to identify terrorist threats at the earliest possible stage. Australia is seeking closer bilateral law enforcement cooperation with key countries in the region and had negotiated MOUs [Memoranda of Understanding) on counter-terrorism cooperation with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

At home, Australia has provided extra resources for our intelligence agencies to deal with terrorism related issues; and introduced tough new legislation to give domestic security agencies greater investigative powers, and to create a specific offence of terrorism with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Australia’s aviation security has been upgraded by establishing a dedicated airport security service at Australia’s eleven major airports. In April, Australia’s national and state governments agreed on crimes at the national level under the Australian federal system. Australia has also enacted domestic legislation which implements Security Council Resolution 1373 and its requirement that states prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism. For example, Australia made and is using regulations which provide for the freezing of assets of identified terrorist entities.

The international community is well aware that terrorism poses a threat to international peace and security. Australia welcomes the role of the United Nations and of this Committee in galvanising international action against the continuing threat of international terrorism. We will continue to work vigorously within the UN and elsewhere to defeat international terrorism, and encourage other states to do likewise.