Foreign Relations | Speeches

Terrorism and Global Cooperation

SAARC Statement on Terrorism

Colombo, Sri Lanka

October 30, 2001

Many critical developments have taken place since the horrendous terrorist attacks committed against the United States on 11 September 2001. The attacks have been strongly condemned by all South Asian countries including Sri Lanka which currently serves as Chairperson of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The military action of the coalition led by the United States to bring to justice those responsible for the terrorist attacks has continued for over three weeks. The necessity for action against military targets is well understood and appreciated as also the statements of the US Government that such action is not directed at the long suffering people of Afghanistan nor against members of the Islamic faith. It is vital that civilians be protected against collateral harm and that humanitarian assistance be extended to innocent people whose lives are being affected.

Beyond the tragic loss of lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the attacks of 11 September have revealed the extensive, deeply-felt ramifications of terrorism which touch the day-to-day lives of people throughout the world. UN Security Council Resolution 1373 of 28 September contends with these wider ramifications. They include the need to suppress the financing of terrorists, to eliminate the supply of weapons to terrorists, to interdict the movement of terrorist groups across borders, to halt the cynical abuse of refugee and asylum status, and the imperative for domestic legislative measures to deal with the extensive international terrorist networks.

Given the close connection between international terrorism and trans-national organized crime, drug and arms trafficking, human smuggling, money laundering and the illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other deadly materials, the UN Security Council also emphasized the need to enhance coordination of efforts at the national, sub-regional, regional and international levels to strengthen the global response against terrorism. The member States of SAARC will extend their fullest cooperation to the Security Council in implementing this important resolution.

Within SAARC, Sri Lanka is seeking to render more effective the Regional Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism which entered into force in 1988. Sri Lanka will also play an active role as a member of the recently constituted Special Committee of the Commonwealth on Terrorism, while continuing to work constructively within the UN Ad-hoc Committee on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, which Sri Lanka chairs, towards developing a comprehensive legal framework to combat terrorism.

30th October 2001
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Colombo