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Counterterrorism high on agenda

By CHRISTINE BOYD, Globe and Mail Update

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have pushed counterterrorism to the top of the agenda for the G8 summit in Kananaskis, with a special focus on terrorist financing, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

Since 1978, The G7/G8 has been a primary international forum for the fight against terrorism and served as the main catalyst for the negotiation of many of the 12 United Nations treaties against international terrorism.

On Sept. 19, 2001, G8 leaders adopted a statement condemning the acts of terrorism in the United States and asking foreign, finance, justice and other relevant ministers to draw up a list of specific measures to enhance counterterrorism co-operation, including:

  • expanded use of financial measures and sanctions to stop the flow of funds to terrorists,
  • aviation security,
  • the control of arms exports,
  • security and other services co-operation,
  • stopping all means of support to terrorism,
  • The identification and removal of terrorist threats.

At the G8 summit, one of the key priorities will be the global implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1373, which was unanimously adopted on Sept. 28, 2001.

The resolution requires all countries to suppress the financing of terrorist acts, freeze financial assets used for terrorism, deny known terrorists access, and take steps to ensure that those who commit acts of terrorism are held accountable.

It also urges nations to communicate more openly about terrorist actions or movements, forged or falsified documents, trafficking of weapons and sensitive materials, use of communications to further terrorist plots and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

In October 2001, the G7 finance ministers released a plan to curtail terrorism financing. They issued progress reports when they met again in February 2002 and in Halifax, N.S. in early June.

Among other items, they have called on the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), an intergovernmental body that develops and promotes national and international policies to combat money laundering, to add cutting off terrorism financing to its activities.

As well, the finance ministers of the G20 - which includes 19 countries, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - have agreed to a plan that will require countries to block terrorist funds and co-operate internationally to close up financial loopholes they use. The G7 finance ministers' plan also requires countries to follow international standards, defined by the UN or the FATF.

Since Sept. 11, almost 160 countries and jurisdictions have issued orders to freeze terrorist assets, and more than $179-million has been frozen worldwide.

In mid-May, the G8 justice and interior ministers met at Mont Tremblant, Que., to address the legal aspects of the fight against terrorism and organized crime.

G8 foreign ministers met in November 2001, then in Whistler, B.C. on June 12 and 13, 2002, when they reported progress on a number of counterterrorism measures, including new domestic laws and policies, billions of dollars in security upgrades, better communication between countries, and higher air-safety standards. They also agreed to lobby non-G8 countries even harder to commit themselves to counterterrorism measures endorsed by the UN.

They stressed the importance of increased co-operation among G8 countries to block terrorists' access to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. Among other things, they called on all countries to fully comply with multilateral agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. They also plan to strengthen international nuclear non-proliferation efforts, including ensuring that excess military plutonium is made permanently unusable for nuclear weapons.

Web Resources

United Nations Treaties against International Terrorism

Statement by the G8 Leaders on Terrorism (Issued Sept. 19, 2001

UN Security Council Resolution 1373

Statement of G-7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (Issued Oct. 6, 2001)

G8 Foreign ministers meeting, Progress Report on the Fight Against Terrorism (Issued June 12, 2002)

Canada's actions against terrorism since September 11

Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act



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