Lanka welcomes UN
anti-terror centre, wants end to hypocrisy


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the setting up of a UN counter-terrorism centre could facilitate and combine global efforts to fight terrorism at every level.

However, its success would entirely depend on a unified approach to tackle terrorism, Rajapaksa said in a brief interview with The Island on the eve of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the 66th UNGA in New York.

The Defence Secretary was commenting on an unprecedented agreement between the UN and Saudi Arabia to establish an anti-terror centre at the UN headquarters in New York. Saudi Arabia will provide $ 10 mn over a three-year period for the new anti-terrorism initiative.

The announcement was made by UNSG Ban Ki-moon on Monday (19) at a United Nations International Symposium on Cooperation on Combating International Terrorism.

The UNSG told member states that they must work together across borders and regions to combat the scourge.

"What I see here today is the start of a new era in counter-terrorism co-operation," international wire services quoted Ban as having said. "States recognise that they cannot go it alone."

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a media round table that terror could strike any country at any time, referring to the July massacre of 77 people by a lone gunman in his country.

"There is a similarity in terrorism that is downright scary," Stoere was quoted as having said. "That is why it is an international issue and that is why it is UN business."

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that unfortunately a section of those pushing for a global effort against terrorism had taken an entirely different position on Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE. Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik (32) had revealed how LTTE terrorism inspired the unprovoked July 22 attacks, which claimed the lives of 77 men, women and children at two separate sites, the Defence Secretary said.

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that there should be a genuine dialogue among nations affected by terrorism and no one should take the high moral ground at the expense of Sri Lanka. He pointed out the absurdity in the LTTE having its agents in world capitals vilifying Sri Lanka, while the global community talked of grandiose plans to eradicate terrorism.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Norway Rodney Perera told The Island that the ongoing Norwegian inquiry could establish the influence exerted by the LTTE on the Norwegian mass murderer. In fact, the Norwegian inquiry could help the international community to comprehend the danger posed by failure on the part of the world to tackle extremism, Perera said.

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