1 de janeiro de 2004

European security mechanisms and security in Asia

First of all, I would like to thank and congratulate the Japanese Authorities for taking the initiative of organizing this Conference.

This Conference is an excellent opportunity to reinforce our common security culture and, in particular, a clear proof of the interest in the model of international co-operation created in the framework of the OSCE Contact Group with its Asian Partners.

Sometimes, when we look at the current world security scenario we ask ourselves if our institutions are able to provide adequate answers to the new emerging threats.

The OSCE is not absent from this self-questioning debate.

From a regulatory body that was able to establish itself as the institutional framework for the “détente”, the OSCE was also able to transform itself and to give very practical responses to the new situation created by the sudden pace of the post-cold war events.

We continue to be proud to recognize that our achievements, as an organization, deserve a place in the history books.

But will we be as useful in the future as we were in the past?

Let’s be frank and not only “politically correct”: we still do not know the answer.

Everything depends on the OSCE’s capacity to be recognized as providing concrete and practical measures to face the common concerns of the citizens of its 55 participating States.

The evolution of the world security scenario in the last three years represents a serious challenge to the OSCE, if we want it to be more than a mere talking shop.

When the world looks at an organization as the OSCE, the first reaction will be trying to find the justifications for its existence, its added value to the common security, apart from being an interesting mechanism to assess whether its norms, principles and commitments are being followed seriously by its subscribers.

If this test is valid in normal times it becomes more relevant in the hard days we are going through.

September 11 reminded us of a lesson: reality has much more imagination than men do.

When the Twin Towers fell down we were able, very suddenly, to put together different pieces of a puzzle that was in front of our eyes but we were unable to assemble until then and even to recognize as a unity.

Many disperse signals of instability suddenly acquired a different meaning.

And the force of the tragedy made us all aware that nothing could be done without putting together the will of those who would be prepared to fight for the values they shared.

For some, it was the day of a radical division of the waters, with severe strategic consequences; for others, very simply, the need to guarantee that our generation was able to re-create a stable international conviviality, and to organize itself to control or, if needed, to fight those who put it at risk.

I was in New York on September 11, as Portuguese Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

I lived through the emotions that crossed the international community gathered in the United Nations, creating the movement that approved, very fast, a set of Resolutions that embodied the common will to respond to the brutality of the aggression we all felt.

But I will be very frank with you: we all knew that that sudden emotional moment, even if it could not be missed for political purposes, would not survive forever.

We were not being cynical, but only realist.

The internal pressures, the regional circumstances, the different perceptions and the legitimate diverse readings of each other’s positions and actions would lead the international community, after the initial shock, to react not always in a uniform way.

The most evident proof of this was the continuous incapacity to prepare a Global Convention on Terrorism.

Not even September 11 was able to create a momentum for achieving that aim.

The definition of the concept itself remained the main obstacle, for political reasons linked to concrete circumstances involving certain partners.

From a simplistic point of view this vision is basically unacceptable: if we are serious about our commitment to fight terrorism, we must be able to recognize it when it occurs and be prepared to fight it without hesitation, supporting those who take the lead.

I must say that, even understanding the rationale behind this kind of reading of the facts, we need to be a bit more sophisticated when addressing this problem.

And we need to realize that it is precisely because things are much more complicated than they appear to be that the results in fighting terrorism are still very far from what would be desirable.

What I just said comes precisely from our own experience within the OSCE.

We are not a military alliance, like NATO, even if all NATO countries are part of this organization.

We do not represent a specific model of integration of common policies, like the European Union, even if all EU countries are participating states of OSCE.

We are a very diverse organization, simultaneously close to Mexico and North Korea, with institutional links with Morocco and Israel, with Afghanistan and Japan.

Where does this diversity lead us?

How does it affect our cohesion and our common values?

What we were able to learn during the last years within the OSCE, is that we need to take particularly into account the fact that we combine very different strategic scenarios of proximity.

We encompass, in our midst, some sensitivities that oblige us to look at terrorism issues with different eyes.

We have terrorism alive inside the OSCE area, not only in Russia but also in Northern Ireland or in the Basque region of Spain.

We have other regions where terrorist acts occur or occurred, where the potential exists for instability that may lead to terror acts, politically motivated through the hands of non-state actors.

And if the effect of any bomb exploding is precisely the same, if people die in the same brutal way, regardless of the motives behind it, we would have been very blind if we did not try to go a bit further in reading each case.

Not with the objective of justifying a terror act – nothing justifies a terrorist action, let’s be clear – but to understand the purpose behind those involved in such actions, in order to better control or combat them.

As Chairman of the OSCE Permanent Council, during the Portuguese Presidency of the organization, in 2002, I was deeply involved in the debate around the negotiation and adoption of what was to become the Porto Charter on Preventing and Combating Terrorism.

It was a difficult exercise, precisely because we were facing in Vienna the same dividing lines that we continued to experience in New York.

But even in those circumstances, we were able to achieve a result.

And indeed a good one.

I call your attention to this document – the Porto Charter - because, in its philosophy, it represents the common ground around which all 55 participating States were able to agree, in all their diversity.

If you look carefully at the principles emerging from that text you will find the right balance between the different approaches, not only in semantic terms, but also reflecting the way countries with diverse strategic scenarios and concrete problems were able to combine their perspectives.

In the Porto Charter you will see the equilibrium between a securitarian approach and the need for preserving Human Rights and fundamental freedoms.

I must say that I felt some pride that our organization, the OSCE, was able to achieve a document on which such different countries were able to agree.

Because the Porto Charter is not a mere rhetorical text.

It is a commitment for action, a template for the different actions the OSCE is prepared to engage in, and it is a regional effort to contribute to global security.

It embodies the previous experience of the Organization in this field and prepares the ground for future work.

But the OSCE’s attention to terrorism issues did not start with the Porto Charter and did not stop there.

One year before, during the Ministerial meeting in Bucharest, on 3 and 4 December 2001, the OSCE adopted Ministerial Decision n. 1 on Combating Terrorism and its Annex – the Bucharest Plan of Action for Combating Terrorism.

Decision n. 1 expressed a strong political condemnation of the terrorist attacks in the USA and a pledge by the OSCE community to combat terrorist threats by all means in accordance with their international commitments.

The Bucharest Plan of Action established a framework for comprehensive OSCE action to be taken by participating States and the Organization as a whole to combat terrorism, fully respecting international law, including Human Rights and other relevant norms of international law.

The idea behind this Plan of Action was to try to expand existing activities that could contribute to combating terrorism, facilitate interaction between States and, where appropriate, identify new instruments for concrete action.

The Bucharest Plan of Action shows OSCE’s determination, as a regional arrangement under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to contribute to the fulfillment of international obligations, such as UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001).

The Plan formed the primary basis for all OSCE activities to prevent and combat terrorism and placed those activities in the political core of the Organization.

It specifically notes the requirements of OSCE participating States for technical assistance to draft the legislation necessary for the ratification of the 12 existing international Conventions and Protocols related to terrorism.

At the same time, it calls for enhanced implementation of existing political-military documents with a view to assessing their relevance to the fight against terrorism.

Another relevant document needs to be mentioned: the Bishkek Program of Action, agreed by the OSCE participating States at a Conference organized with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), on 13 and 14 December 2001.

The Program aims at translating provisions from the Bucharest Plan of Action into a more concrete action, for new initiatives to be implemented by the OSCE bodies, institutions and field operations.

The main priority of the OSCE Portuguese Chairmanship in 2002 for the work of the Organization was prevention and fight against terrorism.

We mobilized all sectors of the Organization in order to guarantee that it was able to give concrete answers to one of the vital challenges that the international community was facing.

In this context, during the Portuguese Chairmanship we organized in Lisbon, on 12 June 2002, a High Level Meeting on the Prevention and Combat of Terrorism.

This initiative took into consideration the need to provide an opportunity to all international and regional organizations with relevant presence in the OSCE geo-strategic space, to directly exchange experiences and together evaluate their respective anti-terrorist strategies.

Looking back to the conclusions of the Lisbon Meeting, I think that one of its main contributions was to reflect an area in which the potential of OSCE was emphasized by all, not merely in security terms but also in a multidimensional and long-run perspective, focusing on prevention.

A second Lisbon Meeting on the same issue was organized in September 2003 in order to assess the follow up of previous year’s conclusions.

As I mentioned before, the Porto Ministerial meeting adopted the Porto Charter on Preventing and Combating Terrorism.

We also approved Porto Decision n. 1, which commits participating States to work towards the conclusion of negotiations on new universal instruments in this field.

On the basis of that decision, OSCE States not only reaffirm their readiness to work in close co-operation with the UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee, but also recognize the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists, urging all States to co-operate in the negotiations underway on a UN International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, as well as on a Protocol to the UN Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In 2003, recognizing the need to maintain the focus of the anti-terrorism activities within the OSCE, the Dutch OSCE Chairmanship decided to create a working group whose basic task was to concentrate on ways and means that could be of use to the participating States in implementing the commitments and activities they had subscribed to in the various documents.

The tasks of this group were linked to the structure created in the OSCE Secretariat – the Action against Terrorism Unit.

The OSCE Secretariat’s Action against Terrorism Unit was established in May 2002.

The Unit reports directly to the Secretary General and serves as an overall co-ordinator of OSCE anti-terrorism efforts, working closely with other OSCE offices and field presences.

The Unit also liaises closely with other international organizations, particularly to draw on specialized expertise and resources in addressing counter-terrorism needs of OSCE participating States.

Additionally, in co-ordination with the UNCTC, the Unit supports the counter-terrorism efforts of other key regional organizations.

The Working Group on Terrorism developed an important activity in identifying the main difficulties faced by participating States in implementing their international commitments, concluding that technical reasons were the main obstacle to the lack of progress in certain cases.

In this context, it became clear that “implementation requires resources, high level of awareness of the complexity of the matter and of developing legal, technological and enforcement related trends.

Development of domestic anti-terrorism legislation is perhaps the initial practical obstacle to a State party’s compliance with both UNSCR 1373 and ratification of the global anti-terrorism conventions.

Either because of domestic law or as a matter of policy, some OSCE participating States may not ratify a treaty until they have legislation in place satisfying all their juridical obligations.

Other OSCE participating States may incorporate international instruments into their domestic legal regimes by the act of ratification itself, but the specific obligations of an anti-terrorism convention can rarely be fully observed and enforced until implementing legislation is in place.” Those were the conclusions that the Chairman of the working group extracted from the work carried out in 2003.

Taking into account this reality, the OSCE Action against Terrorism Unit and other bodies of the Organization have offered their assistance and co-operation, but the requests for concrete assistance have been very few.

In order to tackle this, the Maastricht Ministerial meeting on 1 and 2 December 2003 decided to create an OSCE Network of national “contact points” on counter-terrorism, in order to facilitate exchange of information on anti-terrorism activities, such as possible assistance in forms of training, funding and other capacity-building programs.

The purpose of the OSCE Counter-Terrorism Network is to strengthen information-sharing on counter terrorism programs, funding and needs in the OSCE area.

The Network seeks to reinforce States’ capacities to address current and emerging terrorist threats.

It is not a conduit for intelligence or other sensitive information, not does it seek to duplicate the functions of other international and regional law enforcement networks.

It is a tool for counter-terrorism practitioners to share information on training and funding opportunities and needs to facilitate national capacity building efforts.

The Network was launched on February 4 2004.

I would now conclude with four notes.

The first to inform – and this is last January data – that from 660 potential ratification processes of the 12 United Nations terrorism-related Conventions and Protocols (12 times 55 OSCE participating States), there were 550 ratification actions, representing 83% of the maximum.

We need to realize that on September 11 that percentage was only 65%.

A lot remains to be done, but we are going in the right direction.

The second note is to stress that Travel Documents will be high on the OSCE internal agenda in 2004 and in the coming year.

We are encouraging regional sharing of information to combat falsified travel documents frequently used by terrorists.

One of the Maastricht Ministerial meeting decisions calls for bringing passports and travel documents in the OSCE region up to the existing ICAO standards.

Recent experts meeting in Vienna addressed this problem in depth.

On a third note, I would like to call your attention to the question of MANPADS as a threat to civil aviation.

A specialized workshop took place in Vienna on 23 January, being the first intergovernmental technical exchange on this threat to be held anywhere.

The ICAO and the UNCTC view this workshop as a model for other regions to follow and, according to the OSCE Unit, several governments are now undertaking immediate actions based on information provided at that workshop.

Finally, I want to make a brief reference to the very recent meeting co-hosted by the OSCE and the UNODC, which took place in Vienna on 11 and 12 March, as a follow up to the special meeting of international, regional and sub-regional organizations held in March last year.

In this meeting, the OSCE briefed other international, regional and sub-regional organizations on the work of the organization on anti-terrorism issues.

The central idea of this exercise was to identify counter-terrorism issues that are of global concern, and to better link efforts between regional and international organizations to address them.

In addition to MANPADS, the meeting examined the best ways to strengthen efforts on ratification and implementation, countering terrorist financing, and breaking criminal network links with terrorists such as in narcotics trafficking.

In particular, participants acknowledged the vital role played by the UNCTC in the global effort to combat terrorism and recalled the obligations of all UN Member States to implement fully UNSCR 1373.

In this context, they underlined the importance of technical assistance and capacity building, while noting that there was a potential duplication of technical assistance provided to States in the same areas for the effective implementation of Resolution 1373, while other priority areas remained unaddressed.

They also acknowledged the role of organizations whose activities relate to the control, use of, or access to nuclear, chemical, biological and other deadly materials, and the need to fully comply with existing legal obligations in the fields of disarmament, arms limitation and non-proliferation and, where necessary, to strengthen international instruments.

As it is quite clear for all of us, much remains to be done.

But I may assure you that OSCE, as a regional organization, is taking its share of responsibility for our global security.

I thank all of you for your attention

Intervenção na
OSCE- Japan Conference on “The search for conflict prevention in the new security circumstances – European security mechanisms and security in Asia”, Tokio, 2004

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