Thu, Jul 31, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Many countries fail to tell UN of al-Qaeda activities


Detailed information about al-Qaeda's activities is not being reported to the UN as required because of the stigma in some countries that terrorists might be living there, the chairman of the UN committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaeda said Tuesday.

Chile's UN Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, the new committee chairman, told the Security Council that only 64 of the 191 UN member states -- barely 30 percent -- had submitted reports on what they had done to implement sanctions against Osama bin Laden, his al-Qaeda terror network, and Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers.

According to information from a UN-appointed independent panel helping to monitor sanctions, "individuals or entities associated with al-Qaeda are believed to be active in some way in a significant number of states that have not yet submitted a report," he said.

At an open council meeting, Munoz and the nearly two dozen other speakers urged all countries to submit reports on their implementation of sanctions -- and to provide names of individuals, organizations and companies that should be targeted.

As India's UN Ambassador Vijay Nambiar said, unless countries provide an exhaustive list of those who participated in terrorist training camps or other activities, the committee's work and the fight against terrorism would be "severely handicapped." Israel's deputy UN ambassador Arye Mekel warned that it took only one country that didn't comply to provide "safe harbor" for al-Qaeda and to enable it to regroup, plan and perpetuate deadly attacks against civilians.

Munoz urged countries that don't have the capacity to collect and deliver information to ask for help.

"Recognition of the possible presence of al-Qaeda or those associated with the network within its territory appears to be a stigma to some states," he said. "Consequently, detailed information concerning the activities of the al-Qaeda network and about al-Qaeda operatives and supporters, many of whom were trained in Afghanistan or in other al-Qaeda associated or run activities, is not being presented to the committee."

Munoz stressed that every country was required to submit a report by April 17 -- and he expressed hope that before his year-end report to the council all 191 nations would comply.

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