Combating Terrorism: The Paris Ministerial
Fact sheet released at the Ministerial Meeting on Terrorism in
Paris, France, July 30, 1996.
Under the leadership of President Clinton, the U.S. has pressed
an international campaign to combat terrorism. Commitments made
at Paris build on principles agreed upon at the June 1996 Lyon
Summit, as well as the Halifax Summit and Ottawa Ministerial in
1995 (see background below).
Paris Achievements. The July 30 Ministerial
Meeting on Terrorism in Paris was the latest in a series of international
meetings in which the Eight (the United States, Britain, Canada,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia) endorsed 25 explicit
ways to enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism and
transnational crime. The members of the Eight urged all states
to join in these efforts. At Paris, the Eight committed to strengthen
counterterrorism cooperation by improving security procedures,
prosecuting and punishing terrorists, tightening border controls,
expanding international treaties outlawing terrorism, and preventing
terrorists' fundraising. At the urging of the United States, the
Eight agreed to ensure implementation of the 25 measures "without
delay" and called on terrorism experts to meet before the
end of the year to assess the implementation of the initiatives.
Among the most notable new achievements of Paris are the following:
Protecting Mass Transportation: In view of terrorist attacks
on air, rail, subway, and bus transport systems, the Eight agreed
to the following U.S. proposals to help prevent and solve terrorist
- Safety Standards: The Eight will seek action by the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in negotiating
and adopting uniform strict international standards for airport
bomb detection and heightened security measures at airports.
- Explosive identification: The Eight will work together
and urge nations to cooperate to track more closely the manufacture,
sale, transport, and resale of explosives to keep them out of
terrorists' hands, as well as to tag explosives in order to speed
up investigations. The U.S. will share with other nations ongoing
research and regulations we are developing.
- Vehicle identification: The Eight will urge all car
producing nations to adopt a common standard for labeling vehicles
and parts. Identifying the parts of the trucks used to deliver
the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombs proved critical
in those investigations.
- Passenger manifests: The Eight will urge nations to
work to standardize passenger manifests in order to speed up retrieval
of passenger information; name, nationality, countries of travel
origin and destination, method of payment, and nature of travel
documents all offer critical information.
- Cargo manifests: The Eight also will urge nations to
standardize cargo manifests. Tracking cargo for content, manufacturer,
origin, destination, shipper, importer, and ultimate purchaser
helps both to deter attacks through heightened security awareness
and to trace packages or freight used in an attack.
- Implementation: To ensure rapid implementation of these
initiatives concerning mass transportation, the Eight agreed to
a U.S. proposal that its experts will meet by November to follow
up on the aggressive implementation of these initiatives.
Declaring Terrorist Bombings an International Crime: International
agreements exist which outlaw attacks on air and maritime transportation,
but no international agreement outlaws terrorist bombing attacks,
for example, on public buildings or ground transportation. The
Eight agreed to:
- Draft and negotiate an international treaty requiring nations
to prosecute or extradite all terrorists who carry out bombings
or other acts threatening public safety.
- The Eight agreed to a U.S. proposal that legal experts from
the Eight will convene by November to discuss a draft treaty,
on which negotiations would begin soon at the UN.
Criminalizing Possession of Biological Weapons: To deal
with the threat of terrorist use of biological weapons, states
must act to outlaw individuals' possession or use of such deadly
tools; the existing Biological Weapons Convention only expressly
prohibits abuse by nations, not individuals or groups. The Eight
- Urge members of the Biological Weapons Convention, when they
meet in September to review the convention, to commit themselves
to outlaw the individual use or possession of these weapons.
- Attorney General Reno called on all states to act as soon
as possible to address this pressing issue.
Stopping Terrorists from Using Encryption: Terrorists'
use of encrypted computer communications hampers investigators'
speed in averting planned attacks and apprehending those responsible.
The Eight agreed to:
- Call on participating countries to develop and adopt uniform
encryption technology that allows law enforcement officials to
crack terrorists' codes.
- Attorney General Reno urged the OECD to complete its work
on this issue by February.
Further U.S. Steps and Assistance. In addition
to the steps announced by the Eight, the United States urges all
interested states to join us in going even further in fighting
terrorism and transnational crime. We pledge to move forward with
this joint effort in two technical areas:
- Forensic database: The FBI will explore the initiation
of a forensic science database, which would serve as a clearinghouse
for evidence on terrorist crimes. We will consult with police
agencies of the Eight within 90 days about this plan.
- Explosive taggants: We will share with other nations
the results of our ongoing research into explosive taggants, as
well as taggant regulations we are developing.
Background on Halifax, Ottawa, and Lyon Meetings
At Halifax: In June 1995, the Eight leaders met
at the Halifax Summit and adopted broad principles to combat terrorism.
These were developed further at the Ottawa Ministerial on Terrorism
(December 1995). The Ottawa Declaration called on all nations
- ratify the major international anti-terrorism agreements by
- limit terrorist fund-raising,
- strengthen border security,
- stop trafficking of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons;
- strengthen protection of aviation, maritime and other transportation
systems against terrorism;
- intensify international training efforts and information sharing
by governments to help protect public facilities against terrorist
At Lyon: At the June 1996 Lyon Summit, the Eight
endorsed 40 practical steps that all governments should
take to combat international crime and terrorism, and authorized
their Experts Group to take specific actions on these recommendations
in each of these areas prior to the 1997 Denver Summit. In particular,
they urged cooperation to:
- bring international criminals and terrorists to justice, through
extradition or effective prosecution;
- stop the laundering of ill-gotten gains and funding for criminal
and terrorist acts;
- protect national boundaries from criminal trespass;
- safeguard the hi-tech communications central to international
commerce and cooperation.
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