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Tuesday, 4 December, 2001, 15:28 GMT
OSCE moves against terror
Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana and Colin Powell
Powell (right): Heartened by European action on terror
The 55 members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have adopted an action plan laying out concrete steps to tackle terrorism.

There must be no safe haven for those perpetrating, financing, harbouring or otherwise supporting those responsible for such criminal acts

OSCE declaration
US Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking at the organisation's summit meeting in Bucharest, described the document as "a resolute expression of our collective will".

He said he was heartened by the efforts that Europe, including Russia, was taking to combat terrorism, but he added that all OSCE states could and should do more.

The summit declaration said: "No circumstance or cause can justify acts of terrorism."

"At the same time there are various social, economic, political and other factors, including violent separatism, which engender conditions in which terrorists are able to recruit and win support."

The action plan includes pledges to:

  • Provide Central Asian states with aid to "counter external threats related to terrorism"
  • Make efforts to accede to all UN conventions and protocols on terrorism by the end of 2002
  • Improve exchange of information on criminal investigations against terrorists
  • Step up border controls to hinder the movement of terrorists

Mr Powell said that by improving financial transparency, OSCE member states could ensure terrorists would be unable to raise, launder and move their funds.

He called on member states to cut terrorists' "financial lifelines" and said the war on terrorism was reaching a "new level of energy" thanks to an emerging OSCE consensus, and the alliance between Washington and Moscow.

OSCE members include the USA, Canada, the countries of Western and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Human rights

The action plan includes proposals to strengthen emerging democracies, especially in the Caucasus and Central Asia, now held to be in the front line of the war on terror.

President Islam Karimov
The Uzbek president is now America's close ally
The OSCE also affirms the belief that human rights should not be suppressed along with terrorism.

Officials say that in these newly established democracies, where the fragility of human rights is still evident, it is important not to let security concerns prevail over the civil liberties.

BBC correspondent Paul Wood says America has in the past criticised the human rights record of countries like Uzbekistan, which are now valuable regional allies in the struggle with the kind of radical Islamic groups held responsible for attacking the twin towers and the Pentagon.

Mr Powell is currently on a tour of Europe and Central Asia, which takes him to Turkey on Wednesday, then to Nato headquarters in Brussels, as well as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Germany, France and the UK.

See also:

10 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
OSCE warns of Islamic militancy
08 Sep 01 | Europe
OSCE denies Belarus claims
22 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Monitors criticise Kyrgyz elections
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