Pierre Schori, Permanent Representative to the UN
"Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism"
United Nations General Assembly
New York, New York
October 3, 2001

Mr President,

Three weeks ago, within a time span of only a few hours, we witnessed an unspeakable tragedy and a most abominable terrorist attack. Our host country and its people, and the international community with them, were shocked and stunned by the viciousness of these acts, targeting as they did innocent civilians and extinguishing thousands of lives. I want to convey today Sweden's condolences and deep sympathy with the victims and their families and friends. I also want to express our sincere respect and admiration for the individual acts of bravery during and after the terrorist attack, and for the way in which New York and its people are recovering from this tragedy.

Mayor Giuliani was right, in his address to this Assembly on Monday. In addition to causing insufferable pain and damage on American soil and affecting citizens of nations world-wide, the attack of 11 September struck at core values endorsed by the international community and embodied by this organisation: democracy and tolerance, openness and co-operation. Our response in defence of these values must thus be unified and relentless. In his statement on 1 October, the Secretary General noted that these vicious assaults had "had the effect of reaffirming our common humanity". He also identified the task ahead: "to develop a broad, comprehensive and above all sustained strategy to combat terrorism and eradicate it from our world". Sweden fully endorses the Secretary-General's call, and looks forward to working with all UN member states for the accomplishment of this task. The representative of Belgium has recently spoken on behalf of the European Union on the work ahead, and Sweden fully associates itself with this statement.

Mr President,

Only through determined and united action can the international community come to grips with the evil forces of terrorism. Terrorists aim at creating fear and uncertainty, and at provoking Governments and other decision-makers. Our response must be determined, carefully considered and well calibrated. We should answer with resolve and unity, and ensure that similar events are never repeated.

The quick and unequivocal response by the General Assembly and the Security Council on 12 September, as well as the unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 1373 last Friday, clearly illustrates the vitality and relevance of this organisation in the fight against terrorism. In resolution 1368, the Security Council described the acts of 11 September as a threat to international peace and security, and reaffirmed the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence in accordance with the Charter. My government recognises this right to take measures of self-defence to prevent a similar atrocity, and notes that any response would have to seek to avoid civilian casualties. As stated by the Security Council, our common objective lies in bringing to justice the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of these attacks, and to redouble our efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts, including by increased co-operation.

Through resolution 1373, the Security Council provided all Member States with a solid foundation for the struggle against terrorism. Sweden welcomes the resolve of the Security Council, affirming the central role of the United Nations in this endeavour. Resolution 1373 identifies a range of important measures to prevent and combat terrorism, including, among other things, stopping the flow of finance and funds for terrorist activities, improving information exchange, eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists, bringing persons involved in terrorist acts to justice and preventing the movement of and denying safe haven for terrorists.

In his statement of 1 October, the Secretary-General observed that the implementation of resolution 1373 will require technical expertise at the national level and encouraged states to offer assistance in this regard. Sweden has taken note of this call, and will look into the possibilities of providing such support as a means of strengthening the global struggle against terrorism.

Mr President,

The acts of 11 September - the worst mass killings of innocents in the sad history of terrorism - constitute not only a large scale terrorist attack. My Government considers that these terrorist acts constitute a crime against humanity, and that states should bring the perpetrators to justice, and punish them. In this regard, I want to stress the importance of the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The Rome Statute opens a new chapter in international law that will certainly affect the conduct of States but, more importantly, will guide and shape the behaviour of individuals.

I also want to stress the vital importance of the legal framework provided by the twelve conventions and protocols on international terrorism adopted under United Nations auspices. These instruments should be signed, ratified and implemented world wide without delay. The Swedish Government has recently ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, and will shortly sign the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and ratify it as soon as the legal preparatory work is completed. Efforts should also be redoubled in order to finalise negotiations on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, as proposed by India, and to make progress in the deliberations on a convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, as proposed by the Russian Federation.

Mr President,

The tragedy of 11 September has highlighted the need for intensified efforts at preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles. Biological, chemical or nuclear weapons must not fall into the hands of terrorists. Sweden agrees with the statement by the Secretary General to the IAEA General Conference a fortnight ago, that progress in the areas of nuclear non-profileration is now more important than ever.

The international community must shoulder its responsibility and find ways to strengthen and ensure compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Conventions, ensure the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and reinforce the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Greater efforts must also be made to prevent the uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons. In addition to fuelling armed conflicts, such weapons have been used in numerous terrorist acts. The Programme of Action adopted by UN Conference in July 2001 spells out a number of measures aimed at combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. The events of 11 September have underlined the need for a forceful follow-up to the Conference.

Mr President,

There is a need to better address the underlying social, economic and political problems that create the human misery in which fanaticism and terrorism can grow and find support. Conflict prevention and resolution, as well as development co-operation and humanitarian assistance, trade and investment and increased efforts for cross-cultural understanding are indispensable instruments in a comprehensive long-term policy. In the coming year, two important meetings will take place at the highest political level: the International Conference on Financing for Development in Mexico and the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development. Let the events of recent weeks strengthen our resolve to reach substantial and concrete outcomes at these meetings, for the benefit of development world-wide.

Thank you, Mr President.