United Nations: A consortium of nations, including India, has launched a new multilateral body aimed at fighting terrorism by bringing together members to identify urgent needs and devise solutions to tackle the menace.
Launching the Global counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which includes 29 countries plus the European Union, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly here, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last evening that the world needs a dedicated global venue to regularly convene key counter-terrorism policy makers and practitioners from around the world.
"It is our hope that this new Global counterterrorism Forum will provide that venue," she said.
Hillary Clinton said in the decade after 9/11 attacks, innocent citizens have become victims of al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Toiba.
"From London to Lahore, from Madrid to Mumbai, from Kabul to Kampala, it is innocent civilians who have been targeted. And no country can afford to sit on the sidelines and no country can afford to go it alone," she said.
"We can build an international counter-terrorism network that is as nimble and adaptive as our adversaries, that can mobilise resources and expertise from across the globe, and that can not only meet today`s challenges but prepare for
Hillary Clinton also urged all states to work to finalise the Comprehensive Convention Against International Terrorism, which India introduced more than a decade ago.
In a first, the Global counterterrorism Forum is meant to create a venue where partners can come together and identify urgent needs in counter-terrorism around the world, devise solutions and mobilise the resources to implement those solutions.
The forum is meant to move past some of the debates that have paralysed or inhibited multilateral institutions in the past from dealing with counter-terrorism, specifically the endless debate over who is a terrorist, a US State Department
The official said the initiative was built on the failure of earlier such initiatives like the G-8 Counter-terrorism Action Group, which was meant to be a capacity-building
organisation, but never realised the vision of its founding.
The forum comprises 29 countries in the EU, 11 Muslim majority nations, China, India, Russia along with regional representation from South America and Africa.
It will have a coordinating committee of Foreign Ministry officials besides five working groups.
Two functional groups would focus on criminal justice, rule of law and countering violent extremism. Three groups would be focused on regions of Sahel, the Horn of Africa and Southeast Asia.
The working groups will be co-chaired by members of the GCTF but will be open to other countries.
"The Global counterterrorism Forum is going to play a critical role in terms of setting the international agenda and the urgent needs in the areas of counter-terrorism.
"It would focus on civilian institutions, rule of law, border security, which is a critical problem in many countries and has contributed to the creation of safe havens for terrorists," officials said.