UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called for keeping the focus on dealing with the root causes of terrorism after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres unveiled a suggestion in the General Assembly to create a new, independent U.N. counter-terrorism office to lead the world body’s efforts to combat the hydra-headed monster.
“Without addressing the underlying and root causes of terrorism, we will only be fighting its symptoms,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told an informal meeting of the 193-member Assembly on Wednesday. “We have always advocated that protracted unresolved conflicts, unlawful use of force, aggression, foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination and political and economic injustice, as well as political marginalization and alienation contribute to the spread of terrorism,” the Pakistani envoy said, while stressing that terrorism should not be delinked from its political context.
Ambassador Lodhi said her delegation would consider with an “open mind” all viable options for putting in place the new counterterrorism architecture with a view to agreeing on the best solution. Pakistan, she added, would work with the U.N. and all member states to improve coherence and cooperation of the organizational set up on counterterrorism. The UN chief, who opened the meeting, said the office would be headed by a new under-secretary-general, a senior position in the U.N. system, and it would include teams working on counter-terrorism within the UN Secretariat.
The office would be mandated to implement the 2006 UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy and to better assisting member states in counter-terrorism capacity building, Guterres said. “Our aim is to build a new partnership with member states on countering the transnational threat of terrorism which needs to be addressed urgently,” he said. “Any activities of the new office would be in support of and upon the request of member states,” he added.
In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi spoke of Pakistan’s resilience in combating terrorism, saying it was the principal victim of the menace. “But this has only strengthened our resolve to continue our campaign until the last terrorist is eliminated from our country, a campaign that has entered a more intense phase as I speak.” “As we deliberate on reforming the counterterrorism architecture, we also have to take into account initiatives being taken in the wider reform of the peace and security architecture,” she stressed while making a case for maintaining links between any new Office on Counterterrorism and the Department of Political Affairs”
Asserting that the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy remains the sole responsibility of member states to implement it, Ambassador Lodhi said the new move should therefore focus on how best the UN system can meet the technical requirements, when requested by member states. “In this regard, we believe that the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of any Member States remains fundamental, indeed sacrosanct.”