- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2003

NEW YORK — U.S. officials said yesterday that they will press individual nations to issue overdue reports on their counterterrorism efforts.

The remarks came a day after U.N. Security Council officials complained that more than half of U.N. member states had failed to submit required updates on their actions against al Qaeda and related terrorist groups.

“I think our focus is to continue working with these states to help them meet their reporting requirements and other Security Council obligations,” said State Department spokesman Adam Ereli. “We’ll do that, bilaterally and through the U.N., to ensure compliance with existing resolutions.”

States are required by Security Council resolutions to report their efforts to freeze assets, control borders, crack down on nefarious “charities” and comply with arms embargoes. Eighty-three out of 191 nations have filed the reports, which were due at the end of October.

The council’s committee overseeing sanctions against the Taliban, the ousted hard-line regime in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda called on Monday for another, more strongly worded counterterrorism resolution.

The council had been scheduled to hold private consultations on the reports on Dec. 17, but announced yesterday that the discussions will be postponed until January.

Bulgarian Ambassador Stefan Tafrov explained that Chilean Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, head of the al Qaeda sanctions committee, was traveling. He and two other council representatives left Monday evening for Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Brussels to discuss the influence of al Qaeda and compliance with sanctions.

The State Department yesterday issued warnings to American and other Western visitors to Kenya and Saudi Arabia, advising caution at popular hotels and residential complexes for foreigners.

Kenya’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Franklin Efipila, said Nairobi would present its report to the council in a few weeks, but warned against “branding an entire nation” on the basis of attacks against Israeli targets last year in Mombasa.

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, also was bombed in 1998. More than 200 people, including 12 Americans, were killed.

“It is unfortunate the two incidents took place in Kenya,” Mr. Efipila said. “But they are not aimed at Kenya as a country, but at the Western interests.”

A diplomat from another frequent terrorist target, Indonesia, said his nation was still trying to compile data for the Security Council committee.

“Fighting terrorism is complex. It’s not only freezing assets, it’s the central bank, all banks, the police and the attorney general. It’s a lot of work, and sometimes it calls for regulation we don’t have,” First Secretary Fikry Cassidy said.

He said resources in his country were going toward the apprehension of terrorists, not the filing of reports. But he acknowledged that the work is important “because the reports create a better understanding of what countries are doing.”

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