Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to participate in this important meeting that should pave the way for a new era of international cooperation to combat this dangerous phenomenon of terrorism. At the outset, I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the Secretary General for convening this Symposium which builds upon past work done by the United Nations to foster international cooperation to combat terrorism.
Indeed the global nature of the threat of terrorism calls for efficient and effective international cooperation to eliminate it. This High level meeting also coincides with the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a criminal act that illustrates the potent threat posed by terrorism to world peace and security. It is necessary at this juncture to reaffirm our solidarity with the victims of terror and their families.
Remembering the victims of such tragic acts gives us an opportune moment to examine and evaluate the course of the international efforts to combat terrorism through the past ten years and calibrate its effectiveness. This fora presents an ample opportunity for such an endeavor. The criminal attacks of 9/11 and the recent ones against the United Nations Office in Abuja last month and in Norway last July confirm the following conclusions.
First it is obvious that terrorism remains an option that attracts marginalized groups. The persistence of the threat means that we all have to exert more efforts and joint endeavors to combat terrorism and eliminate its root causes.
Secondly our past successes and failures in that regard confirm that combating terrorism solely through military and security means will not lead to the desired results. We should emphasize the importance of dialogue and understanding; We should strive to avoid double standards when addressing the issue of combating the threat of terrorism. The International community should adopt policies that seek to eliminate the root causes of terrorism as this is the best course of action to ensure the end of the spread of this dangerous phenomenon. Moreover we should not allow for any linkage between the crime of terrorism and any race, culture, or religion.
Dealing with the root causes and addressing the conditions conducive to terrorism, means removing the political, economic as well as the security conditions that lead to its rise. This can best be done through, ending foreign occupation and truly recognizing the legitimate right of people for self determination. In addition, the role of economic and social development that is accompanied with fair distribution of wealth and genuine international cooperation in that regard cannot be overlooked.
Indeed to combat terrorism effectively we need to address the issue of extremism. One of the vital tools, to deal with this particular issue, is education. Educational institutions play a pivotal part in promoting understanding between nations, cultures and beliefs. This brings me to focus on the prominent role that the oldest and most influential Islamic Institution, namely Al Azhar, is playing in combating extremism. Al Azhar has always been a beacon of moderate Islam. It promotes the real teachings of the religion most. It promotes the real teaching of the religion which is based on tolerance, peace and the acceptance of the other regardless of ideology or belief.
A Fair and effective criminal justice system is also of major tool in the arsenal of the efforts to combat terrorism. We should strive to ensure that all our counter terrorism efforts are conducted under the due process of law, and in accordance with the universal standards of human rights. Furthermore, we should create the necessary institutions that rehabilitate convicted terrorists and ensure their smooth transition back to society.
Before I conclude, I would like to clarify the guiding principles for the New Egypt in the field of counter terrorism. First and foremost, the New Egypt is committed to combating terrorism and will continue to respect all its international obligations.
Secondly, we believe that terrorism is amongst the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that the international community should do all what it can to combat it. However and while we strongly condemn all terrorist acts I want to re-emphasize our conviction that successfully combating terrorism cannot be done solely by reliance on security measures. We need to effectively address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism as was elaborated above. This principle was enshrined in the Global Strategy to Combat Terrorism adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution number 60/288 on September 8th 2006.
Terrorism cannot be defeated by war alone but by using all the means at our disposal in the removal of the root causes of terrorism in addition to the necessary legislative and security measures.
Thirdly, the Government of Egypt strongly condemns any attempt at linking the crime of terrorism to any religion, culture or ethnic group. We believe that irresponsible statements that attempt to associate the crime of terrorism with any religion are in themselves a clear incitement to terrorism.
Last but not the least we firmly believe that all counter terrorism practices and measures should be conducted under the due process of law and in conformity with the international standards of human rights. This is a prerequisite to the success of our counter terrorism efforts and international cooperation in that field. We believe that by administering and achieving justice and fairness and the respect of human rights as well as addressing conditions conducive to terrorism we will ensure our success in eliminating the threat of terrorism.