October 20, 2017

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Andreas Jacovides at the Working Group of the Whole of the Sixth (Legal) Committee on International Terrorism (Article 2, Definition)

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation did not speak earlier in the working group on this subject, since we were associated with the position stated by the European Union earlier this week and we are also on record through our recent statement in Plenary on International Terrorism.

It is perhaps timely to intervene now and make a general point. We have had so far a constructive and full debate on the basis of the Indian draft comprehensive Convention. We have had an eloquent appeal by the Legal Counsel, echoing the Secretary General’s principled position, stated on a number of occasions in the aftermath of the atrocious crime of the 11th of September. We join in this appeal. It is time for the Sixth Committee to act so as to meet the expectations of the international community and get over the remaining hurdles in concluding successfully this major piece of international law making. If we hold back, as we have been for too long (I recall participating in the same kind of debate in this Committee as far back as 1972), we shall not live up to our responsibilities. This will not be good for the Sixth Committee, or for the United Nations (especially in the wake of the accolade accorded by the Nobel Peace Prize of last week) or for the world at large in its fight against international terrorism. It has been said that the better is the enemy of the good. It is equally true that international law making, as indeed politics, is the art of the possible. We should, indeed we must, rise to the occasion and take the steps necessary to conclude the comprehensive convention at this session, even if it falls short of fully satisfying everybody. I believe there exist ways of meeting the concerns – and indeed there are legitimate concerns to be met – in ways other than by holding back the adoption of the Convention. It is still our hope that this will be possible and trust in our collective wisdom, under your able guidance and the efforts of the Bureau, to achieve it. We can do no less. If this year, in the wake of current circumstances and atmosphere, we cannot rise to the occasion and make a breakthrough, we never will – and everyone will be worse off for it except international terrorism.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.