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Blast-stung UN arms Delhi

New York, Nov. 1: In an unexpected shot in the arm for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s demand that Pakistan should firmly act against terrorists spreading mayhem across the border, the UN Security Council yesterday underscored “the importance of bringing the perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of violence (in New Delhi) to justice”.

More important, the council’s president, Romanian foreign minister Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu, urged “all states, in accordance with their obligations under international law and resolutions to cooperate actively with the Indian authorities in this regard”.

The council, which began yesterday’s meeting with its statement on the New Delhi serial bombing, read out by Ungureanu, specified this demand in terms of previous Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1624.

The latter resolution, adopted by the council during the UN summit in September, is a landmark, which criminalises not only terrorist acts, but also incitement of such acts in institutions such as madarsas and calls for legislation and other regulatory steps against errant religious sources of extremism.

The resolution calls upon states to deny safe haven to those who promote acts of terror and urges action to prevent such perpetrators of violence from crossing international borders.

It reads like a tailor-made resolution directed against Pakistan, which is guilty on all these counts.

Resolution 1373, adopted by the Security Council in the aftermath of the September 11 al Qaida attacks against the US, is one of the strongest ever adopted by a UN body.

Both the resolutions are under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which means they can be implemented by the use of force because of threats to peace and acts of aggression.

Yesterday’s Security Council statement with references to Chapter 7 was an unexpected boost for India because it implies support for any action that may be taken by New Delhi, including the use for force, to safeguard its interests against cross-border terrorism.

The council president’s statement on India, which came on the very first working day after the Delhi bombings, was a surprise because it took the group weeks to craft a resolution after the Chechen terrorist attack on a school in Beslan in Russia last year.

A statement by the president is the result of consensus among its 15 members and implies support for what it says within the full council.

Ungureanu’s statement came soon after the president of the UN General Assembly, Jan Eliasson, and the world body’s secretary-general, Kofi Annan, condemned the New Delhi carnage in separate statements.

It is very rare for all three to act on any issue in such quick succession: usually one of them, the Security Council, the General Assembly or the secretary-general, takes steps to deal with such incidents.

In remarks after delivering his prepared statement in the Security Council, its President said the New Delhi bombings underscore the urgent need for the UN to draft a Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism.

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