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U.S. Welcomes OSCE Support in Fight Against Terrorism

U.S. Welcomes OSCE Support in Fight Against Terrorism

The United States believes the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has a valuable role to play in the global fight against terrorism, the head of the U.S. mission to the OSCE, David T. Johnson, told the Permanent Council in Vienna September 21. Statement on the OSCE's role in the fight against terrorism, delivered by Ambassador David T. Johnson to the Special Meeting of the Permanent Council, Vienna, September 21, 2001. Source: Washington File (EUR513), U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C., September 21, 2001.

Johnson said the OSCE needs to take advantage of its expertise in police training and border monitoring to help member states address the problem. He also stressed the need "to live by the words we have spoken and the values we have embraced" regarding democracy and the rule of law.

"We have struggled long and hard to build a society that does not define people by color or religion," he said. "We will not abandon that quest in our fight against terrorism. It is the terrorists themselves who divide their own societies and reject the possibility that free people in a democratic society can and should live together in peace and diversity. We must not grant them this victory."

Following is a transcript of Johnson's remarks: (begin transcript)

United States Mission to the OSCE

Statement on the OSCE's role in the fight against terrorism, delivered by Ambassador David T. Johnson to the Special Meeting of the Permanent Council, Vienna, September 21, 2001.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Minister, we appreciate your coming and we appreciate the words of condolence you offered to us this morning, as well as last week. We see them as a demonstration of your personal attention to the role that this organization can play in what will be a monumental task of uniting all countries in action to prevent the horrific acts of terrorism of the kind we experienced last week from ever happening again, and to bring to justice those who perpetrated these heinous crimes.

September 11 will be remembered for generations as a day of sadness, of pain and loss by the United States, its partners, and allies around the world. Citizens of more than 60 countries are among the dead and missing in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Among them, as you have mentioned yourself, Mr. Minister, are also nationals of Romania. The number of missing and dead now approaches 6,000.

September 11 will also be remembered as the day the world changed. From that day forward, when we look at how we deal with nations and with individuals and with organizations, our efforts will be measured in how that work helps us in the fight against terrorism. As the President said last night, "every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

As we reflect on this great tragedy, Mr. Minister, our outrage has already turned to determination that we must work long and hard to creatively use the institutions that already exist in the fight against terrorism.

We welcome the steps you sketched for us today on how the OSCE might contribute to a sustained and organized manner to the long-term process of rooting out the many forms of support for terrorism from within and across the borders of our countries.

We believe the OSCE will have a valuable role to play in this global fight against the evils of terrorism. The OSCE should examine the possibility of looking at national legislation in our countries and of providing advice on how it can be strengthened. We also have the obligation of real information sharing on how we might actually carry out the commitments we have made at the UN (for example, through the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism). We also believe the OSCE must require its members to sign on to international conventions relevant to the fight against terrorism and implement them. The time for simply urging is past.

As you pointed out, our organization brings expertise on police training and border monitoring. We need to take advantage of that in a systematic way that helps member states also address the immediate problems they face from terrorist groups.

We also agree that we should begin now, working with your Special Representative for Central Asia to carefully prepare the Bishkek Conference on Violent Extremism. It must be a meeting that will generate concrete ideas for OSCE involvement in combating extremism - not just in Central Asia, but throughout the OSCE area.

As you mentioned, Mr. Minister, one of the ways we can use the OSCE is to broaden to 55 states what we agree in other smaller groups. The Group of 8 countries issued a statement yesterday on some ideas that they wish to pursue and the United States and the European Union yesterday in Washington issued a statement in some detail on the areas where we might work together. These areas include: aviation and transport security; police and judicial cooperation; denial of financing for terrorism; denial of other means of support; export control and nonproliferation; border controls, including visa and document security; and, law enforcement access to information and exchange of electronic data.

I have spoken at some length about what we might do in an OSCE Action Plan on Terrorism. But I also want to mention - as you have, Mr. Minister - that we have to live by the words we have spoken and the values we have embraced when it comes to democracy, the rule of law, and the safeguarding of basic freedoms.

Like others around this table, we condemn anti-Islamic violence and prejudice, including in the United States, which some people have mistakenly tried to justify in the wake of the September 11 attacks. We do not tolerate discrimination in the United States against Christians or Jews; neither do we tolerate similar actions against Muslims.

We have struggled long and hard to build a society that does not define people by color or religion. We will not abandon that quest in our fight against terrorism. It is the terrorists themselves who divide their own societies and reject the possibility that free people in a democratic society can and should live together in peace and diversity. We must not grant them this victory.

Thank you.

(end transcript)

 

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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