at Crossroads, From Danish Cartoons to Sunset on Pakistan's Wall
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
UNITED NATIONS, May
10 -- "The UN has to think carefully about its counter-terrorism strategy,"
outgoing Assistant Secretary General Javier Ruperez told Inner City Press on
Thursday. "Should it continue focusing on asking for compliance with Security
Council resolutions? Or should it provide technical assistance and lend to
countries which are trying to comply?"
Complicating these questions is the sun-setting at the end of 2007 of the unit
Mr. Ruperez is leaving, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate,
CTED. This unit among other things visits countries to assess their legal and
other system and to offer recommendations. But in interviews with a number of
Committee participants, a picture of dysfunction emerges. Several participants
describe a process in which cultural or "clash of civilization" issues such as
those raised by the anti-Islamic Danish cartoons have distorted echoes in the CTC. The Committee declined, for example, to schedule an investigative visit to
Denmark, leading to acrimony about seemingly unrelated issues.
media officer Mitch Hsieh says that the major media appears not to have time to
cover for example the Committee's visits in 2006 to India and Pakistan. In the
latter visit, Mr. Ruperez went to Islamabad and Karachi, while another CTC group
when to Peshawar and visited, among other places, a religious school. Inner City
Press asked if they have visited North or South Waziristan, but the answer given
the cross border movement of "terrorists," Pakistan has begun building a wall
along its border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan province. Reports
the Karzai government in Kabul "wrote to United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon
earlier this year to express 'deep concern' over the fencing plans," click
to view. But Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq on Thursday told Inner City Press
that the Secretary-General "has not received a letter from the Afghan
Government." This was also added to the UN's
its noon briefing. As Mr. Ruperez said Thursday, the UN needs to think through
its counter-terrorism strategy. Leading up the UN's C-T Implementation Task
Force is Robert Orr, who is also "the man to see about mandates." As with
mandates, there is talk of a merger of units. Talk without action does little
Ruperez briefing the Council, back in the day
Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan told Inner City Press on Wednesday at a
Qatari reception that the "Bob Orr task force" has become the game in town on
terror. He too found Ruperez' resignation puzzling. Mr. Ruperez, who leaves at
the end of June -- in response to Inner City Press' question Thursday if he will
become Spain's consul in Chicago, he confirmed that it is so -- named two
countries as no-go zones for the Committee: Somalia and Iraq. He noted upcoming
visits to Bangladesh and Indonesia.
City Press asked if, for example, he thought the CTC could schedule a mission to
North Korea. He thought they could, although it would take time and negotiation.
It has happened before, he said, that a member state has dictated which
individuals can visit, from which nationalities. "We are not the IMF," he said.
"We cannot impose."
Counter-terrorism's Javier Ruperez offered counter-explanations to certain
members stories, in a 40-minute interview on Thursday, but asked that these not
be reported. "I am trying to leave this house peacefully," he said. All right
then. We will have more on
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