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March 10, 2005
(Continued from: Closing Plenary).
Vaira Vike-Freiberga. President of the Republic of LatviaExcellencies, Heads of Governments:
Today, European Day in memory of the victims of terrorism, is a day saddened by affliction. No one can forget the pain and shock we all felt a year ago when the senselessness of terrorist violence took the lives of some 200 men, women and children in Madrid and caused injury and wounds to almost two thousand more. That was one of the most vile terrorist massacres ever carried out in Europe. I should like the take the opportunity, once again, to express the solidarity and deepest support of the people of Latvia to the people of Spain on this sad anniversary. We should like to thank the King for his patronage of this forum, which is, above all, a homage to the victims, and also thank the Club of Madrid, the government of Spain and the city of Madrid for the organisation of this event.
The horror of the tragedy of Madrid was still very fresh in our minds when almost three hundred and forty people, most of them children, were killed in Beslan in September of last year. In Iraq, merciless terrorist attacks have become an almost daily occurrence, something so frequent that they only serve to further underline the absolute senselessness of these acts of indiscriminate destruction. Terrorism is a manifestation of the blindness of hate and the violence that indiscriminately attacks innocent people who have nothing to do with or any responsibility with regard to the aims terrorists claim to pursue.
It has now become a global threat to the peace and security of all our countries. Terrorism, which purports to be a way of drawing attention to legitimate political claims, cannot, by definition, be part of any political process. Terrorist demands can never be met and it is inadmissible that terrorism be used as an instrument for the resolution of conflicts. (…).
Terrorist activity differs from individual crime by not bringing any direct tangible benefits to its perpetrators; it is similar to organised crime, however, in being systematically exploited, organised, financed and directed by identifiable groups of individuals. Terrorist cells are recruited either among professional mercenaries or ideological extremists or both. Extremist ideologies foster the growth of terrorism, and it makes no difference whether they are home-grown in Europe, such as neo-Nazism or neo-Bolshevism, or imported from abroad, such as an Islamic extremism that does not follow the Koran.
Terrorism also thrives in areas of festering conflict, from where it fans out to other parts of the world. This is why achieving a genuine and lasting peace in the Middle East, Chechnya, South-East Asia and elsewhere in the world will certainly become an important step forward in the international fight against terrorism. That is why international organisations, as well as individual states, must work together to achieve negotiated settlements in all the world’s worst conflict-ridden zones. In order to deal with the increasing threat of international terrorism, our intelligence-gathering and law-enforcement agencies obviously need to cooperate in ever closer and more effective ways.
The neutralisation of terrorist cells through the arrest and imprisonment of their fanatical adherents, however, can only serve as a stopgap measure unless the root causes of terrorism are addressed as well. Psychologically, terrorists, and especially suicide terrorists, are trained and prepared in a climate of paranoia, which includes delusions of grandeur, the sense of mission and the mania of persecution. The mania of persecution, uncontrolled rage and diffuse hatred may stem originally from genuine grievances and injustices which then fester and become more and more violent because of an inability to achieve one’s aims through normal political or economic activities. Grievances as such, however, can never be accepted as an excuse for terrorist activity. There are hundreds of legitimate ways in which grievances can be settled; there is no legitimate justification – I repeat none whatsoever – for committing acts of terror against one’s fellow human beings.
What can we do to make terrorism less attractive as a strategy to those who use it? In the case of political conflicts, it is clear that all the parties concerned, including the terrorists themselves, have ultimately to accept recourse to negotiation in order to achieve their political goals. The gains to be achieved through negotiation should be made sufficiently clear and sufficiently attractive to make terrorism become redundant, unattractive and unnecessary. In the case of ideologically motivated terror, any potential solution is far more difficult to achieve. Ideally, there should be a process of education or re-education with the simple basic aim of instilling respect for human life as an inviolable value. But how to achieve this, for instance, in societies where violence is a way of life, be it within a family or in society at large, and where people feel only contempt for their own lives as well as for those of others?
Our free and democratic societies have evolved over centuries, by gradually defining the overriding values they all share in common: respect for human life and dignity, compassion for the suffering of others and tolerance of difference and diversity. Terrorists, through their actions, represent degree zero of humanity and civilisation. Their egos fed by the publicity they gain through the media, they see themselves in the role of heroes and martyrs. But they cannot operate without financial, social and ideological support or without a network of communications among themselves and their supporters. They do have their Achilles’ heel, their weak points, and governments, as well as international organisations, need to develop the sort of practical plans for containing them that you have been working on here at this conference. Organisations such as the United Nations, as well as NATO, have each their special role to play in this regard. The European Union has a role to play, as do other unions of states and non-governmental organisations. The civilised world may be hurt by random and unpredictable attacks, but we cannot allow it to be destroyed. It is our common task and sacred duty to do all we can to protect and strengthen it so justice and humanity can prevail.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika. President of People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.
Your Majesty, Royal Highness, Honourable President of the Government of Spain, Heads of State and Government, Secretary General of the United Nations, Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I did not hesitate in accepting the kind invitations of President Cardoso and President Zapatero. Taking place as it does, a year after the atrocious attacks on Madrid, this meeting offers me the opportunity to once again convey to the Spanish people, on behalf of the Algerian people, our solidarity, compassion and sympathy towards the families of the victims. We are, furthermore, gathered here to exchange points of view on democracy, terrorism and security. A question which is of particularly major importance at this time, when the international community is about to tackle, with renewed determination, the problematic issue of collective security, especially within the context of international cooperation for development.
Democracy, terrorism and security and necessarily inter-related and weigh very significantly on the future of the inter-dependent world in which we live. There can be little doubt that the threats facing our world are less and less military in nature, less and less strategic, but more and more political, economic and social. By making forced and generalised assumptions about the market and the laws of the market, in allowing new international actors and agents to appear, and by making migratory pressures worse while, at the same time, continuing to be powerless to halt the flow of criminal activities from country to country, globalisation has profoundly transformed the concept of security. It has, in so doing, forced us to confront hitherto unknown challenges, in addition to the traditional scourges that the international community is still far from overcoming.
Such a situation makes the promotion of democracy more necessary than ever. The question before us is how to adapt institutions and prepare minds to exercise the new responsibilities this new situation now demands. On this level, there hardly are what can be termed universal models to be followed. There are, more appropriately, democratic practices to be elaborated by each country in keeping with their own particular conditions. However, all democracies find common ground with each other in the values of progress and equity* and feel the common need for an efficient regulation of their economic and social system. We cannot escape the truth that the market cannot, on its own, guarantee the normal functioning of society.
It is therefore with a sense of urgency that we think that there is need for greater coherence within the mobilisation of the international community, for a really meaningful programme with far reaching consequences in terms of overcoming the evils that beseige our society. There is an even greater need for such a programme to be really meaningful in as much as we need to agree on the kind of attention necessary for the treatment of the profound causes of those evils. Sustained multi-lateral dialogue is now more necessary than ever, not only to improve the efficiency of anti-terrorst action but also to place it within the global perspective of a new system of collective security. The common pursuit of security objectives and the reinforcement of the action of international organisations to help solve regional conflicts, the overriding global threats and the concerted efforts needed for them to be handled universally, call for firm political will, which must be clearly stated, based on a common perception of global threats, and on the manner in which they are perceived and apprehended.
As far as we are concerned, this process must, first of all, take root in the Euro-Mediterranean region, an area in which so many common affinities and aspirations can be found; an area which also is a theatre of some of the most serious crises of international stability and security. In Africa, where the shortcomings of institutional and operational capacities are perceptible everywhere, a sustained effort is therefore necessary to reduce the margins of action of terrorist groups and prevent them from establishing sanctuaries by taking advantage of situations of conflict and difficult social and economic conditions.
In this sense, The African Centre for Research and Study on Terrorism, recently created in Algiers, under the auspicies of the African Union, is called upon to play a central role. Our aim is to make this institution a key instrument of analysis and operational support to the regional strategy for the fight against and prevention of terrorism. As host country of this institution, it is, for Algeria, a source of great satisfaction to see that our African partners are willing to provide material aid for the development of this centre as well as the cooperation necessary to make sure it functions well.
The anti-terrorist undertakings of the international community should be prolonged in an attitude of greater solidarity towards the problems of development and in the search for meaningful common ground with regard to the paramters of transparent global governance, and in the respect for international legality. Because it will be more and more difficult to separate the needs of security from the needs of development. The system of collective security that has to built must be equitable if it has to be credible. So let us place even greater emphasis on the much stated objectives of the millennium declaration, which aims at a more just regulation of the world economy.
A purely military vision of security only makes conditions worse and inevitably jeopardises the long term bases of global security, which can only hinge on a greater understanding among peoples. From now on, the global fight against terrorism cannot only be based on military means, on means of repression. Neither can it afford to ignore the links between terrorism, arbitraty occupation, the violation of human rights and the denial of the most fundamental rights to certain peoples. Furthermore, we shall never insist too heavily on the need to conceive and develop mechanisms of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, regionally, nationally and globally, to respond to the security demands of each country, which in turn conditions the security of all, regardless of the geographical situation, or the geopolitical power and influence of certain countries.
At the recent international conference in Riad on the fight against terrorism, we were able to take several important steps in this direction. A solution to regional conflicts, especially the Middle Esat conflict, will allow us to give shape to new common ground based on the absolute refusal to accept any justification whatsoever for terrorism. In keeping with this trend of thought, dialogue among cultures and civilisations has to be considered an important vector of promotion of international security. In this sense, the initiative for an alliance of civilisations, so avidly and zealously defended by president Zapatero, will no doubt help to give new impetus to the necessary rapprochement of all men, by eliminating prejudice and exclusion.
In the face of all these demands, we are in no doubt that the alternative strategy for the fight agaionst terrorism anounced by the UN Secretary General will be of major importance. Its success will depend on the political will shown by the members of the international community and their ability, based on consensus, to arrive at a definition of terrorism. It will also allow them to reinforce cooperation at every level. Such a definition should not, in any way, question any people’s right to self-determination and must always protect their legitimate national rights. The report on the threats, challenges and changes whose recommendations will serve for an elaboration of a more meaningful anti-terrorist strategy, underlines the need to avert the explosion and further escalation of conflicts and aims to help the most vulnerable countries beseiged by civil wars, poverty and other scourges, to properly exert their soverignty.
This report also states that everything that may undermine the state as a basic element of the international system constitutes a threat to international security. The defence and promotion of human rights, freedom and democracy is a crucial element of the new system of collective security that has to be built. In keeping with this trend of thought, it is very important that acts of terrorism be deemed crimes of international law and that the security council anti-terrorist committee actively contributes to the spread of anti-terrorist cooperation, into every field within its range of action. In short, what is necessary is that we move towards the elaboration of a model of cooperative security that translates into an agreement on a minimum of norms of behaviour applicable to every state.
Ambivalence and the absence of general lines of direction, which are so characteristic of certain aspects of the present approach, stem from the different perceptions held by states that are directly or indirectly threatened, potentially or in real terms. These differences of perception are palpable on either side of the line of division that separates the developed and the developing world. As well, within each of these two worlds, the lack of solidarity in the distribution of risks has led to the policy of each for himself.
On the other hand, we cannot afford either to mask the limits of a reform of the United Nations system which is so necessary, and which brings us face to face with the difficulties inherent to the blocage of the international system and the shortcomings in terms of good governance that stem there from. Our reflection must include the nature of economic and internationmal relations and the concrete difficulties facing the world today. Today’s world has to overcome many of the fundamental imbalances with which it is riddled; it has to see that terrorism is often the result of injustice and inequality, which only feed terrorism and make it worse. The enlargement of the security council, really taking on board all the conditions necessary for stronger and more viable cooperation in the interest of greater and better security, and getting all the states to adhere to it, is a task of enormous complexity.
Algeria has always been in favour of equal representation in the security council, as well as of an increase in the number of members. However, reform of the UN is a delicate operation, which must be carried out very carefully, with a great sense of responsibility. It is clear that certain institutional changes are necessary in order for the UN to play a better and more meaningful role in the consolidation of peace and international security, based on consensus, and departing from a new conception, with the ultimate aim of greater collective security, since our objective is to properly deal with the threats posed by phenomena as diverse as classic inter-state conflicts, internal conflicts, poverty, pandemics, the degradation of the environment, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and other forms of organised crime which cannot be dealt with isolatedly.
The world order is also affected by additional tensions, due to certain situations of crisis that are very symptomatic: conflicts that arise in several regions and serve to show the incapacity of the international economic system to adequately regulate the economic and financial currents in the world. New ideas are needed to face problems which are so global, especially with regard to the regulation of those currents or to the adequate and concerted elaboration of macro-economic policies that make greater provisions for developing countries. It would be necessary to strive towards a better functioning of those institutions that are leading the fight against terrorism and for the extension of their functions and responsibilities in order that they may guarantee greater coherence in the global mobilisation necessary for such a fight. Going as far as allowing for the imposition of sanctions against those states which, even though they have sufficient means, do not fulfill their obligations in this field, is by no means a derailed idea.
Now more than ever the world needs a new impetus to be given to international organisation, in order to guarantee the universality of the fight against transnational terrorism, and, at the same time, to properly safeguard and respect human rights, as well as the intensification of democratic practices, and better governance in all its member states.
Ladies and gentlemen, using these principles as inspiration, Algeria has undertaken the vast task of national renewal, based on the consolidation of democracy, the reinforcement of the rule of law, the relaunch of social and economic development and the promotion of national reconciliation. We have therefore chosen to pursue certain political, social and economic paths of action designed to lift the country out of the accumulated ruins brought on by over a decade of terrorism. The law on Concorde Civile was a decisive step within the process of national reconciliation. Thousands previously involved in terrorist activity have benefitted from it and have once again taken up a normal life in society.
But beyond the dismantling of armed groups, reconciliation has to come to Algeria in order for our country to live with itself, and in order for us to build a society in peace, a society capable of making a better fist of its own future. Social cohesion, solidarity and good governance, tasks on which we are working, are also conditions that are no less important for any democracy to last and flourish. In the pursuit of its goals, and it its determination to draw from the deep the wells of its nascent democracy, Algeria can today say that it has withstood the scourge it has had to deal with and can look towards the future. To look at and deal only with the issue of security is not the solution.
As soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled, I shall consult the people of Algeria, via referendum, on a law of general amnesty in order to put definitively behind us a very painful chapter of our history. In order to forge for itself a transnational dimension, the scourge of terrorism also creates concrete local situations, which must be severed, with lucidity and astuteness. That is why the process of national reconciliation is being carried out hand in hand with sustained efforts to guarantee social justice and conditions conducive to lasting development. The promotion of a culture of tolerance, dialogue and peace should allow Algeria to take better advantage of its diversity and of its willingness to futher open up to the world by giving free reins to the creative energies of its children.
In our fight against terrorism, the people of our country have given their full collaboration to the security forces, as well as the agents of the state and the religious authorities. This has made for the success of the strategy of isolation and neutralisation of terrorist groups. In our country today, terrorism is a beaten beast. But we have to pursue the global fight against all forms of organised crime, within and without. Political violence and extremism, incluiding religious extremism, constitute a patholoigical ill, in the full sense of the term. No weakness, no concession, no complicity will be admitted as far as terrorism is concerned, whatever the manifestations, whatever the guise under which it appears in its attempt to seriously menace the sovereignty of nations or the foundations of any state. The experience we have had only makes us believe even more firmly that terrorism is, today, a major challenge, no doubt the most dangerous challenge, to democracy and the rule of law.
Ladies and gentlemen, my country is in a very good position to know that September 11th in New York and March 11th in Madrid are only very strong symptoms of something that had already been there for quite some time before. In my country, for over a decade.
This is the message that Algeria wishes to deliver here today, to reiterate its commitment to internationaal cooperation in the fight against terrorism. It is our desire that internationl cooperation should take real shape, and spread, in good faith, with transparency and impartiality, in every possible dimension, not least of all legally and operationally. The kind of cooperation being promised here, to encompass new horizons, is living proof that it is possible to act in common against terrorism, departing from a series of common values and principles, and so establish the foundations for a true international code of conduct on this question.
The appropriate response to the terrorist threat necessarily entails the elaboration of a coherent global strategy, in keeping with the demands of sustained, efficient action for cooperation. I cannot end, ladies and gentlemen, without underlining the crucially important role of international public opinion, which we have to mobilise, because a real and effective fight against transnational terrorism necessarily entails that we have the capacity to constantly rethink our attitudes, our view of the other, as well as our obligations and responsibilities.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
Maaouiya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya. President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Your Majesty, Honourable Heads of State and government, ladies and gentlemen.
I should like, first of all, to praise this very important initiative taken by the Club of Madrid, who have organised this big international meeting to debate on terrorism, and thank the promoters for having invited us. We believe that any attempt at concerted, joint effort, any meeting at such a level, constitutes a reinforcement of the front against terrorism. It is very important for us to be able to debate as we have done today. It is very important that in the future ideas are allowed to flow from forums such as these. They allow us, most of all, to know when this horrible phenomenon, which all countries now face without exception or distinction, first came into being in the world, and what are the causes of terrorism. We must, before anything else, attempt to shed some light on these problems before going on to address ways and means of tackling them.
The cause of terrorism is, most of all, the frustration brought about in men by poverty and ignorance. All of that has been brought into very sharp focus by the kind of globalisation that has developed out of overwhelming scientific and technological progress, and, most of all, in the communications media. Globalisation has brought to light the gap between rich and poor countries: countries which go to bed at 6 p.m. without electricity, without water to drink.
Terrorism was born with poverty. A second phenomenon, no less dangerous, and we don’t know where it will lead us, is illegal emigration. The young people of poor countries have seen how the other countries of the world live. And they have no water and no electricity; their qualifications do not guarantee them employment. All of that has given rise, in them, to a great feeling of frustration, which has in turn given rise to illegal emigration. Of course the Middle East conflict serves as a good alibi for terrorism, as we have all seen. Operations continue because that conflict continues without any hope of solution.
There is no doubt that to fight against terrorism military action is needed. As are security and police services. But political action is also required. On a military level, we must build a solid front against terrorism, but we are far from that. We must elaborate and write up, together, the rules and norms to be respected. As for security coordination among states, there is no doubt that it is necessary. In Mauritania we are doing so with Spain, and neighbouring countries. We are seeking cooperation in the field of information, but we need to go much further. Developing countries do not all have access to technology and they need to be helped in this field by developed countries.
Solidarity is also necessary because terrorism affects us all. The minute terrorists detect a weakness or opening, they kill scores of human beings. The international community must honestly value and show interest in the existence of freedom, justice and tolerance among nations and peoples, as well as within any given country. All poor countries wish for democracy. They must be helped to get there at their speed. They cannot become democracies overnight, when very often they still do not know what it means to vote, what it means to confront and contrast ideas.
Poor countries must also be helped in the field of education. The international community must tackle illiteracy head on, and decidedly, in developing countries, because they are a fertile ground for the recruitment of terrorists. The international community must help poor countries to eradicate illiteracy. Because we are in a world that is becoming more and more of a village, thanks to the communications media, television, aeroplanes, etc. There cannot be a “rich” Third World and another Third World “without electricity”. Terrorism cannot be eradicated if action is conceived and designed only in terms of security.
In Mauritania, to fight against terrorism, we have studied programmes aimed at fighting against poverty. The fight against illiteracy and ignorance is one of the main thrusts of our policies. In two years we have created 1,000 libraries across the country. Furthermore, we also encourage women to take the places they deserve, making full use of their rights. We must think about this problem on a world scale. Initiatives like the one which brings us together here today are excellent, as they will allow us to understand the danger that threatens us and lead us, with a sense and spirit of solidarity, to the level of compromise that is necessary.
Kjell Magne Bondevik. Prime Minister of Norway
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, after this long list of prominent speakers, I am going to be brief and as concrete as possible.
Tomorrow, a year will have passed since the people of Madrid were subject to ruthless bombing attacks. The objective was clearly to kill as many as possible. This was not only an attack on innocent people; it was also an attack on democracy and all the values we believe in. It defies comprehension that people can choose to take completely innocent lives. Lives of people they do not know – even children. Of course, there is no excuse for terrorism; no goal can justify it. We owe it to the victims to make every effort to prevent such atrocities.
More than forty years ago, President John F Kennedy let the world know that the US would ‘pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty’. We should take these words to heart. All of us here are part of the global partnership that is working relentlessly to track down terrorist groups. We are doing so by military and police efforts and financial and judicial means. These efforts must continue unabated, but these measures alone cannot prevent terrorism. We cannot do away with terrorism on the battlefield or in the courtrooms; terrorism must also be defeated in people’s hearts and minds.
In order to achieve this, I believe the following issues must be addressed: Firstly, democratic economic and social development is necessary to give those in need hope for a better future. Research indicates that there is often a feeling of frustration, individual or collective, behind terrorism. It can be a feeling of humiliation on behalf of one’s ethnic group or religion, or a personal grievance. The rule of law and respect for human rights are the first and best way to counter terrorism. We must provide outlets for human ambitions, hopes and beliefs, but also for anger and grief.
Secondly, extremist ideologies are a cause of terrorism. As an ordained Lutheran minister, I am especially concerned about the abuse of religion in the making of a terrorist. Love, peace, brotherhood and reconciliation are central to all great religions; terrorism is alien to them all. Through inter-religious dialogue, we must build on the values that unite us.
And thirdly, countless children are today being raised in an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance. Education can and should be a primary tool to achieve the opposite. It should promote tolerance and mutual respect, and parents have a special responsibility here. They are children’s first teachers and they must teach them not to hate or to take pride in collective hate. The same applies to school curricula and religious teachings. Equal access to education, allowing all children to realise their full potential, is vital.
I want to end by thanking the Club de Madrid and the Spanish government for hosting this important conference, and the Norwegian government very much appreciates being a co-sponsor of the conference. To sum it up from my point of view: development, respect for human rights and democracy are our best protection against the terrorist threat.
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Prime Minister of SpainLadies and gentlemen, tomorrow will be a day of mourning for Spain.
A year ago, Madrid suffered the worst terrorist attack of its history. With the great pain caused, all over Spain it was a severe blow to life. Irrational violence showed its awesome capacity for destruction. The scars remain, and will long remain in our memories. Those responsible for it will pay for their horrendous crime. The full weight of the Law will be brought to bear upon them, because this is a country governed by the Rule of Law, with a serious system of Justice, independent and efficient.
To honour the victims of March 11th is to also honour the thousands of victims of terrorism in other cities of Spain and many other cities that are now so present in our memory: New York, Beslan, Casablanca, Bali, and so many other cities across the world. With such cities, a special kind of brotherhood has been forged, through mutual pain and loss.
As we remember March 11th, we must once again point to the lesson the Spanish people have given the world and History. Spaniards filled the streets of our country with their pain and solidarity. Two days later, they went to the polls in their large numbers and showed us exactly how to defeat terrorism: through democracy and the strength of its values. That is what they did a year ago. That is what they have been doing to fight terrorism for thirty years. Today, I wish to render homage to this society, to the Spanish people, a people that are, and feel, free. A people that know a great deal about solidarity.
The victims of terrorism suffer directly in the flesh an attack aimed at the entire society. For that reason, we owe them permanent commitment, recognition and solidarity. We owe them, in short, a compromise of memory. I wish to thank you all very specially for being here in Madrid. We see it as an expression of that solidarity with the victims and with Spanish society as a whole. Your presence is a reiteration of the shows of support and the outpouring of affection we received a year ago.
Ladies and gentlemen:
We are gathered here, at this International Summit on Democracy and Terrorism, to try to find adequate responses to global terrorism: responses that must be serene; responses that will often be complex; responses that can and must be shared; responses that must not depart from the values that have dignified life in society; responses that must be found in freedom and the respect for human rights, in just relations between countries and peoples, in progress, cooperation and solidarity.
The objective of terrorism is the imposition of ideas through violence and the attack on democracy. But there are other problems which also weaken democracy, render it impossible, or lead to its irretrievable deterioration: poverty, social exclusion, alienation, degradation and debasement, intolerance. Security - security for all - ultimately hinges on the respect for values and a firm and concerted undertaking to solve all those problems.
Ladies and gentlemen:
There is absolutely no cause that can ever justify terrorism. Let that be said loud and clear. No idea, however legitimate, can serve as an alibi for indiscriminate killing. In terror, there is nothing but evil and senseless cruelty. In terror there is no such thing as political reasoning. In terror there is no such thing as ideology. In terror there is no such thing as a just struggle. In terror there is nothing but emptiness, the emptiness of futility. Terror will never achieve its objectives. To kill to defend an idea is to do nothing but kill. It is not the defence of any idea. What ever conflicts there may be can only be resolved by political action. Never by the action of terror. Terror only worsens conflicts and makes any solution impossible.
Terrorism is the most absolute denial of the values inherent to human dignity. For that reason we must be careful not link this phenomenon to any given civilisation, culture or religion. It would be a very serious error to think that behind international terrorism there is a new ideological division, a clash of civilisations that makes certain societies or groups suspicious.
History shows that terrorism has been used to support different ideologies or religious confessions. It isn’t, therefore, inherent to any particular ideology or religion. However, certain visions, which clearly lack a full and proper grasp of the issue, choose to place terrorism within the radical and fanatical outlook of a religion that may be a key element of identity of many countries and peoples. It is a very serious error that only leads to incomprehension among cultures and within the International Community. Incomprehension is the step prior to separation. Separation engenders the temptation for hate, and hate opens the door to violence.
For that very reason, last September, before the UN General Assembly, I proposed an Alliance of Civilisations based on knowledge, understanding and respect for the other. The interest shown in that proposal, the many who have bought into the idea, the moves, thus far, to make it a concrete reality, only go to show the extent to which the International Community, as a whole, is fully conscious of the need to act to close the gap that has opened between the West and the Islamic world. We cannot remain inactive, and allow that gap to get wider.
The idea that the United Nations General Secretary should constitute a Group of High Level Officials dedicated to that task has gained significant ground. Their mandate must be clear and precise. It must include the study of the factors that have led to this international fall-out and formulate concrete proposals for the United Nations to provide efficient solutions to the situation created. Our common aim is to establish, within the United Nations, a plan of action that would include measures that pave the way for this rapprochement between civilisations. Politically, culturally, economically and in the interest of greater security.
To overcome terrorism we must also make an honest effort to understand the threat. We have to analyse and reflect upon the conditions that make it possible for fanaticism to spread and for support to be found for the strategy of terror.
We cannot afford to ignore the enormous economic, political and social differences between societies, which seem irreparable, and which at times serve as pretexts for violence. Extreme poverty, social exclusion, the lack of education, seemingly “irrecoverable” States… these are all factors that provide fertile ground for support to be found for terrorism. We cannot hope to achieve peace and security in a sea of universal injustice. We should, therefore, with resolve, take on board those shortcomings and seemingly irreparable differences.
The fight against terrorism demands that we put into place the moral, intellectual, legal and police structures and frameworks necessary to reinforce the legitimacy of our efforts. Every State has a right to defend its citizens against terrorism. But it is also bound to do so without betraying the essence of democracy, by never undermining certain rights and freedoms that must always be preserved. In the words of our dear Sergio Vieira de Melo, who was so brutally killed in Bagdad, the best, the only, strategy to isolate and defeat terrorism lies in the respect for human rights, the promotion of social justice and democracy, and the existence of The Rule of Law.
Terrorism is, as we know, a global threat that requires a global response. It behoves us to put that into place. It is also a strategic threat aimed at imposing, by force, a new political agenda. To overcome terrorism, the International Community needs, urgently, to forge a political consensus, putting differences behind it. Terrorism must be analysed in all its complexity, and tackled in all its dimensions. Of course we need to look at the question of security. But a proper examination of the political, economic, social and cultural dimensions is equally necessary.
International cooperation, real multi-lateralism and the defence of legality and human rights must be the fundamental pillars of such a consensus. It will only make the fight more efficient. All of this must be crystallised in a global plan of strategic action on the part of the International Community, in order to enhance our capacity to fight against terrorism, and within which the United Nations must occupy a central position of leadership.
I therefore thank the United Nations General Secretary for the resolution and determination with which he has undertaken to make the organisation that unites us all become the engine of our common efforts. I also thank him very specially for having chosen Madrid, at a time such as now, as the place where he would make us privy to his vision for the global strategy against terrorism.
I hope that with his words it will be firmly grasped that international legality must be respected in the fight against what is a great threat to us all. On the table at present are two questions the International Community has to deal with as soon as possible: an Agreement against Nuclear Terrorism and a Global Agreement against Terrorism. A common, general definition of the phenomenon has to be found and adopted. The institutional framework of the United Nations also needs to be reinforced if it is to more efficiently lead this fight.
In this sense, it would be very useful to set up an international fund to give economic assistance to those States that have less resources, so they may fulfil their international obligations against terrorism. It would also be very useful to create an international compensation fund for victims, to whom we must give all our attention, solidarity and support.
The United Nations must also coordinate and complement the efforts currently being carried out to improve international cooperation against terrorism, which is essential bilaterally as well as in within different regional organisations.
We must reinforce the mechanisms of operational cooperation among states in the police, legal and intelligence spheres, in order to forestall attacks and isolate and corner terrorist organisations and those that in any way justify them or provide them with help, support and finance. There is also need for the exchange of more information, and for that to be done in a more efficient manner, in order to effectively fight against the financing of terrorism, and so guarantee the safety of international trade and the protection of infrastructures.
There is another fundamental element, which is necessary: the tireless promotion of the commitment to civil society, in order to generate a culture of tolerance, dialogue and mutual comprehension, and so defeat those bent on perpetuating intolerance.
Ladies and gentlemen:
I wish to congratulate the Club of Madrid for organising this Summit which, I am convinced, will be remembered as an expression of solidarity with the victims of terror, as a reiteration of our commitment to the defence of freedom and the Law, as well as of the unity and firmness shown against terrorism. All forms of terrorism. Because there must be no perverse excuses for any of them. Nor must there be impunity or safe refuge.
With the participation of so many dignitaries and representatives of civil society from all over the world, the Spanish people feel accompanied in the grief. The efforts of representatives and experts from so many different countries, cultures, religions and sensibilities give us reason to harbour the hope that, together, we will be able to find democratic responses and solutions that will allow us to defeat terrorism.
The memory of March 11th can so easily lead to a feeling of deep distress. But, at the dawn of this new century, there is more than sufficient reason to raise our heads. In the world today there are more democracies than at any time in history; the international order isn’t building walls, but putting into place the processes necessary for political and economic union; more citizens than ever before in History and societies are being mobilised by peace; citizens demand the end to poverty, misery and social exclusion.
Let us speed up the decisions that will lead to a better and more just world. Let us provide the impetus necessary for more and more democracies in the world, via political pressure, patience and the strength of reason. Let us strengthen the United Nations, multi-lateralism and international legality. Let us move to fulfil the Millennium Objective of poverty eradication. Let us defend the principle of the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Let us set in motion the Alliance of Civilisations. Let us increase our collective security, by loyally sharing legal models, by having greater police cooperation and greater cooperation among intelligence services from country to country. Let us strive for the greatest possible coherence and rigour in our fight against terrorism. And let us, in the name of such rigour and coherence, tirelessly pursue, within individual national borders and beyond, the trafficking and illegal trading of arms and explosives, which are used, outside of the Law, to spread terror and impose force.
Pointing a clear finger at hypocrisy and doing away with it are also crucial to the achievement of victory in the fight against terror.
Ladies and gentlemen:
This Conference has been labelled “Democracy and Terrorism”. Terrorism has no chance against democracy. Democracy is the defeat of terrorism. The more democracy there is, the better the quality of democracy, the more freedom, justice, peace, equality and peace there are, the less terrorism there will be. Until it disappears completely.
Man has managed far more difficult conquests in his history. He has always done so whenever that immense humanity we all possess deep within has chosen to serve the most noble causes. The cause that brings us together here is a noble one. Nothing will make us forget the victims of terror, or the victims of despair. There will never be sufficient consolation for their families. But the lives of each and every one of us, as well as all those lives so brutally taken away, mean something within the overall context of all our lives. Today, 1,200 children will be born in Spain; 180,000 children will be born in the world. We will think about them. Our lives are their lives. Our lives are driven by their lives, and those new lives have a right to a safe and just world. If we want to be loyal to ourselves, we must strive to achieve it.
Thank you very much.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso. President of The Club de MadridLadies and gentlemen.
Many words have been said here. By many voices. Almost, if not all of them, have said the same. No to terrorism. Yes to democracy. There are moments for speeches, moments for applause, moments for listening, moments for acting. We have listened here to real plans of action. The General Secretary of the United Nations presented a plan, the President of the Spanish Council of Ministers complemented it. It has been a great source of motivation and encouragement to us. No more words are necessary.
We can hardly ask more of the Club of Madrid. And I speak in the name of my colleagues and fellow ex-presidents of 55 democratic nations of the world; we are going to stand firm, and help you, who are at the helm of your respective countries, to show the kind of leadership necessary in the fight against terrorism.
One more word of thanks. There is no need to say who to.
We can also ask for a moment of reflection. Reflection not only in one sense; reflection that must be dedicated to the victims of terrorism here in Madrid and the world, to those who have survived, but have been forever scarred by terrorism. Reflection that must come from deep within each and every one of us, who must ask ourselves, exactly what we can do, in the face of such a scourge.
So I shall now ask you for two minutes of silence, while we think of the victims of terrorism, and pledge our firm commitment to tirelessly fight till victory is achieved. As President Zapatero said “the final victory against terrorism, the victory of democracy.”