Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: Mark F. Wong
Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism - U.S. Department of State

Print

I want to thank you for this opportunity to address the role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Global War on Terrorism.

The citizens of some 78 countries and territories lost their lives in the tragic events of September 11, but in many ways, every nation throughout the world was touched. The United States has fought the scourge of terrorism for many years, and since the 1980s we have seen an ever-increasing commitment by other countries to work with us in that fight. In a dramatic show of solidarity, virtually every nation on earth immediately and unconditionally condemned the events of September 11, resolved to prevent a recurrence, and began to act – on every front – to eradicate the threat of terrorism with a global reach.

The worldwide coalition against terrorism is using every available means to achieve this end. It is a multidimensional effort being conducted simultaneously around the world.

As President Bush said: “How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command – every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war – to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.”

Diplomatic

Since September, the President has met with leaders from more than 50 nations, and Secretary Powell has met with numerous foreign ministers and other officials of our coalition partners. The State Department's Special Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Frank Taylor, has met many foreign officials in Washington and continues to travel to every continent to help forge an effective, common policy to combat terrorism with a global reach. He could not be here today, in fact, because he is leading a Joint U.S.-Pakistani Working Group on Counterterrorism. Diplomacy and international cooperation are the leading edges of every nation’s homeland security. This is certainly true for the U.S. and, hence, our allies and partners are at the core of our long-term counterterrorism strategy. This is why we have engaged in intensive diplomatic and cooperative efforts to establish coalitions to fight the terrorist menace around the globe. In the war on terror no nation, not even one as powerful as the United States, can succeed alone. We must have the maximum amount of international cooperation possible.

For those reasons, increased efforts in such specific areas as sharing terrorism information, tightening border controls, and suppressing terrorist financing have been initiated by numerous multilateral organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the G-7, the G-8, the European Union, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Thanks to a membership that includes countries all the way from Portugal to Kyrgyzstan, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe plays an important role in this global effort. I can tell you that the degree of cooperation with our Coalition partners in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia has far exceeded what we would have imagined prior to September 11.

The OSCE has helped coordinate the counterterrorism activities of its participating states. For example, at the December 3-4 OSCE Ministerial in Bucharest, the 55 participating States adopted an Action Plan on Combating Terrorism. The Action Plan endorses and is based on UNSCR 1373 and pledges all OSCE participating States to become parties to the 12 UN terrorism conventions and protocols by December 31, 2002. The states also pledged to take steps to prevent terrorist groups from operating on their territory, to share information on such groups with other participating states, and to take action to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist organizations. The Plan tasked all OSCE bodies to prepare roadmaps with timetables and resource requirements for implementing their portions of the Action Plan.

Permit me to take a moment to comment on the importance of UNSCR 1373 in forming and energizing the coalition I have mentioned, and in working with the OSCE. This unique UN Security Council resolution makes responses by the member states of the UN mandatory and lays out a clear and specific set of actions that all states must take to improve their capabilities to counter the terrorists. It also requires states and international organizations to report to the Security Council on the ways that they are improving their capabilities, and it requests capable states to assist those who need help to implement it. Thus, it can be said that UNSCR 1373 is the glue that holds the international efforts against terrorism together. The OSCE has been one of the most energetic and cooperative in responding to this call of the Security Council. All but one of the OSCE member states – Turkmenistan - have made initial reports to the UN Counter Terrorism Committee on the steps they have taken to implement Resolution 1373.

Last December in Bishkek, Kyrgystan, the OSCE participating States endorsed an additional Program of Action at the Conference on Enhancing Security and Stability in Central Asia. While the Bishkek Program echoed many of the Bucharest recommendations, it added a pledge to take further action on the financial aspects of combating terrorism. In February, the OSCE Chairman in Office appointed former Danish Defense Minister and current MP Jan Troejborg as his Personal Representative for Combating Terrorism. Mr. Troejborg, who met recently with my boss, Ambassador Taylor, brings a strong political commitment to advance the work of the OSCE in this area. The OSCE has approved the creation of a CT Unit in the OSCE Secretariat to bring focus day-to-day on implementing the Bucharest and Bishkek plans. The U.S. is also helping in this regard.

In addition, the U.S. and Russia have also jointly proposed the creation of a database where participating states can post requests for assistance or where OSCE institutions can post funding requests for CT-related programs so that other donors can make offers of assistance. Similar databases already exist for economic and human rights projects and have worked well in helping coordinate an extensive number of projects over the past several years.

The European Union has also done its share. Its support for the U.S. in the struggle against terrorism has been strong and sustained. The EU has publicly backed our targeted military actions in Afghanistan and has actively assisted in building the international coalition against terrorism. The EU has pledged that all member states will sign the UN Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing by end October and ratify the 1996 Convention on Bombing by the end of the year. Since July the EU has frozen close to $100 million in Afghan assets. The EU is moving to expand the scope of its Money-laundering Directive and its Directive on Insider Trading to block activities linked to terrorism by the end of the year.

Financial

Under Secretary Gurule has already spoken in detail about international efforts to get at terrorist financing. I would add that the OSCE is a vital forum for European regional efforts to implement UNSCR 1373, as well as to strengthen counterterrorism capabilities in general. It is the only institution in Europe with such a broad membership where we have a particularly strong voice. The OSCE remains essential in coordinating with the EU, COE, UN agencies, and bilateral donors to avoid overlap and ensure that programs meet identified priorities and are complementary. Moreover, the OSCE can also provide much needed expertise on technical issues, an increasingly important function given the limited number of experts in areas such as terrorist financing and the large number of countries that need and have requested assistance.

We will encourage and support OSCE activities to broaden implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 Recommendations and its 8 Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing by OSCE participating States. Some of these states lack the expertise in this area and acknowledge the inability of their financial sectors to implement any changes quickly. Ideally, the counterterrorism unit in the OSCE Secretariat would work with OSCE field missions and outside experts to coordinate regional training for these States, and self-assessments, as recommended by the FATF. That is an initiative we will pursue actively.

Law Enforcement

Also important are the OSCE's efforts on police training and law enforcement. A Senior Police Advisor position has been established in the OSCE to oversee and coordinate ongoing OSCE police training activities, now focused on the Balkans. Police training, with considerable USG help, and border security are areas of demonstrated OSCE success. As sound policing is critical to any counterterrorism effort, the OSCE could expand its programs beyond the Balkans. The Bucharest Action Plan specifically targets border security, trafficking in persons, trafficking in drugs, money laundering and arms trafficking. We are giving strong support to the new Police Advisor's plans to enhance police training, particularly in the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia.

For our part, the State Department's Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program will continue to be an important part of our efforts to help improve the capability of civilian security forces in fighting terrorism while at the same time respecting human rights. In recent years, our counterterrorism office, which provides policy direction to the program, has given high priority to assistance for countries of the former Soviet Union, such as courses on crisis management and the executive seminar, aimed at senior members of government.

Finally, to complement police and other security force training and to strengthen a bedrock element of democracy, OSCE will continue to contribute to strengthening the capabilities of courts and lawyers, both prosecutors and defense attorneys. Emphasis would be on areas such as the use of evidence resulting from improved policing skills, trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes related to terrorism or support of terrorism. The program would also stress independence of the judiciary and adequate protections for the accused.

Such efforts complement our own programs. We continue to encourage other countries to strengthen their counterterrorism laws and regulations and some already are doing so. To assist the process, the State Department, working with the Justice and Treasury Departments, is developing a series of seminars to give suggestions to the
legal officials of other countries. The first seminar is scheduled to begin June 3 with about half a dozen countries, mainly from Central Asia.

Intelligence

International intelligence cooperation has dramatically improved in the wake of September 11. This cooperation is vital because gathering and sharing intelligence about terrorists, their movements, and their planned attacks is an absolute prerequisite in countering terrorism. Much of this sharing is done on a bilateral or regional basis. As you can understand, I cannot go into much detail about
intelligence matters in an open hearing. However, suffice it to say, planned attacks have been prevented, and lives have been saved because of enhanced cooperation. Although good intelligence is rare and never fully adequate, the global coalition, particularly the key participating states of the OSCE, has demonstrated a resolve that makes it harder for terrorists to carry out their crimes. But this area requires continued and persistent effort.

Military

The terrorist attacks of September 11 were an act of war against the United States and while the OSCE is not a military organization, many of its participating states have offered valuable, often unprecedented, levels of cooperation in Operation Enduring Freedom. Uzbekistan has provided overflight rights and critical cooperation in Operation Enduring Freedom. It has allowed the U.S. to base forces at the Karshi-Khanabad airforce base, while Kyrgyzstan has allowed U.S. military to be stationed not far from its capital, Bishkek. There has lately been a lot of media attention on the commendable efforts of British forces in Afghanistan. But their contribution is far from unique. We have been heartened by Allied response thus far including the contributions to ISAF, and the combat forces deployed to Afghanistan and surrounding states.

Conclusion

In the wake of the horror of September 11, the world has never been so focused on the threat of international terrorism or the absolute necessity of countering it using every available means. It will require time and continuous, relentless political will on the part of many people in many professions, in many countries. The Global War on Terrorism will be a long, hard-fought confrontation fought on many fronts, demanding contributions from all those who wish to rid the world of this blight. We will continue to work closely with the OSCE, the EU and others toward that objective. We also will to continue to work with the Commission and look forward to its future contributions on this important issue.

Thank you. I would be happy to take your questions.