Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 16, 2005

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United Nations and the Fight Against Terrorism
Royce schedules Thursday hearing to examine issue

BACKGROUND: Claiming that the United Nations must be at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is bolstering the UNs counter-terrorism efforts, highlighted by a speech he delivered last week memorializing the Madrid train bombing in which he laid out a "principled, comprehensive" counter-terrorism strategy.  In calling for a comprehensive convention outlawing international terrorism, Annan sided with those who believe that no cause justifies targeting civilians. Critics ask how can the U.N. be helpful in combating terrorism when its member states (some of which are designated by the U.S. as state sponsors of terrorism) can't agree on what terrorism is?  The problem was summed up well in a remark made by the Pakistani Ambassador to the U.N. Munir Akram in 2004, While we all agree that acts against civilians are terrorist acts, there is no similar consensus on what are the rights of people struggling against foreign occupation. The subcommittee will explore a number of often overlooked questions: what are the prospects for a comprehensive convention outlawing international terrorism?  Would it likely improve U.S. security?  How can U.N. efforts to freeze terrorist assets, frustrate terrorist travel, and coordinate and bolster national laws combating terrorism --which have had mixed results-- be improved?  Why has the U.N. abandoned "naming and shaming" states not cooperative in counter-terrorism efforts?  Are reforms in the counter-terrorism area worth the effort given the U.N.'s known shortcomings?  Does the U.N. have a constructive role to play in combating this grave threat to U.S. national security?  Or is it better to work directly with allies?       

WHAT:         Oversight hearing: The United Nations and the Fight Against Terrorism                         

                      Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman

WHEN:         1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 17, 2005

WHERE:       Room 2255 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:  Victor Comras, a former member of the United Nations Monitoring Group, Anne Bayefsky, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute; Stephen Stedman, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Follow-up to the High-level Panel Report, United Nations.

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