The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The secretary-general has rightly emphasized the urgency for reform of the institutions and processes of the United Nations. We encourage his efforts in this direction. We should seek to implement these reforms within a specified time frame.

Mr President, the Iraq issue continues to present a major challenge to the UN. At this point in time, it is not very productive to linger on in the past. Our thoughts and concerns should be about the suffering of the people of Iraq. It is imperative that the people of Iraq should be empowered to determine their own future, to rebuild their nation.

The immediate priorities are ensuring security and stability, restoration of basic facilities and infrastructure, and a roadmap of political processes for a representative Iraqi government. It is clear that the UN has a crucial role to play in the process of political and economic reconstruction of that country. This has been acknowledged both by those who had opposed military action and by those who did not seek specific UN endorsement for it.

Mr President, one issue on which the UN showed remarkable unanimity after 9/11 was global terrorism. Security council resolutions 1373 and 1456 were unequivocal in condemning all forms of terrorism and in calling for united action against support, shelter, sponsorship, arming, training and financing for terrorism or terrorists.

Unfortunately, the solidarity in words has not translated into coherent and effective action. Terrorist acts continue to shatter our peace: from Mombasa to Moscow; from Baghdad to Bali. India has had more than its share in various parts of the country. The global coalition against terrorism has registered successes in Afghanistan, but has not been able to extend this elsewhere. Some of its members are themselves part of the problem. We are sometimes led into semantics about the definition of terrorism. The search for “root causes” or imaginary “freedom struggles” provides alibis for the killing of innocent men, women and children.

There is a lot that the UN can do to carry forward the war against international terrorism. Its counter terrorism committee should develop measures to ensure compliance by member-states of their obligations under UNSCR 1373 and 1456. We should have credible multilateral instruments to identify states that contravene these resolutions. Multilateral mechanisms must be created to detect and choke off international financial flows to terrorists and terrorist organizations.

A much better international system of information exchange and intelligence sharing needs to be devised to prevent terrorists from evading capture, simply by crossing national borders. No state should be allowed to profess partnership with the global coalition against terror, while continuing to aid, abet and sponsor terrorism. To condone such double standards is to contribute to multiplying terrorism.

Yesterday, the president of Pakistan chose this august assembly to make a public admission for the first time that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. After claiming that there is an indigenous struggle in Kashmir, he has offered to encourage a general cessation of violence within Kashmir, in return for “reciprocal obligations and restraints”.

We totally refuse to let terrorism become a tool of blackmail. Just as the world did not negotiate with al Qaida or the taliban, we shall not negotiate with terrorism.

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