Inner City Press


In Other Media-e.g. Somalia, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia   For further information, click here to contact us          .

Home -

Search is just below this first article

How to Contact Us


Inner City Press Podcast --

UN Counter-Terrorism at Crossroads, From Danish Cartoons to Sunset on Pakistan's Wall

Byline: 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.

            C-TED's 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 was no.

            Citing the cross border movement of "terrorists," Pakistan has begun building a wall along its border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan province. Reports state that 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 here 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 transcript of 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 for morale.

Javier 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. 

   Inner 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 this beat.

 Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Search WWW Search

Other Inner City Press reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on --

            Copyright 2007 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] - phone: (718) 716-3540