U.N. Security Council freezes terror funds
From Ronni Berke
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United Nations Security Council late Friday unanimously approved a U.S.-sponsored resolution that would freeze the financial assets of suspected terrorists and expand the power of the United Nations to fight terrorism.
The resolution, approved 15-0, requires all countries to deny safe haven to anyone financing or committing a terrorist act, and criminalizes the financing of such attacks.
The measure, introduced Thursday by U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, also bans political, military and financial support to people and "entities" suspected of terrorist activity.
It calls on states to refrain from providing any form of support, "including political or diplomatic, active or passive," to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts. Punishment for supporting or committing any terrorist acts must "duly reflect" the seriousness of such acts, the resolution says.
Countries must also cooperate fully with one another in terrorism investigations, "including assistance in obtaining evidence in their possession."
By invoking Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, the resolution effectively supersedes other anti-terrorism treaties that many countries have ratified. A reference to Chapter 7 makes the measure mandatory immediately for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Some delegations had expressed concern that the resolution circumvented treaties already negotiated by the 189-member General Assembly -- such as the 1979 Convention against the Taking of Hostages and the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Another point of contention among diplomats was the fact that the resolution did not define the term "terrorist." Some Arab envoys questioned whether Israel could use the resolution against Palestinians.
In the resolution, the council also sets up a committee of its 15 members to monitor its implementation.
New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will address the meeting on terrorism Monday, U.N. officials said Friday.
His speech is scheduled to come prior to the launch of a weeklong debate on the subject at the headquarters of the world body.
Because Giuliani's speech is scheduled prior to the official kickoff of the meeting, U.N. officials said, he will not be addressing the General Assembly.
New York City mayors have twice before addressed the United Nations: William O'Dwyer did so in 1949 during a cornerstone ceremony at the erection of the headquarters building on Manhattan's East Side. Vincent Impelliteri addressed the first plenary session of the General Assembly in 1952.
Meanwhile, more than 2,000 U.N. employees evacuated the 38-story building during a fire drill Friday afternoon.
Members of the Security Council were exempted from participating so they could continue negotiating the anti-terrorism resolution.
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