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12/5/03 - UNITED NATIONS ON AL-QAIDA - 2003-12-05


The United Nations counter-terrorism committee has reported that "the risk of al-Qaida acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction. . . continues to grow." The U-N committee warns that al-Qaida terrorists are determined to launch chemical or biological weapons attacks and kill thousands of people. "The only restraint they are facing," says the report, "is the technical complexity to operate them properly and effectively."

Ambassador Heraldo Munoz of Chile, chairman of the U-N Security Council sanctions committee, said that too many charities are still being used to fund al-Qaida terrorists. He also said too many countries are slow in meeting the requirements of U-N sanctions on al-Qaida and Taleban Muslim extremists. U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli says the U.S. shares these concerns:

"We would note that there are a large number of countries that have not filed their reports yet on terrorist groups. That is unfortunate. We're working with these countries to remedy the situation. But I wouldn't conclude from this that there is not a lot being done by all countries in the United Nations to fight terrorism and cooperate collectively in that effort."

In fact, since the al-Qaida attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001, nearly two-thirds of al-Qaida's known leaders have been killed or captured. A U.S.-led coalition drove al-Qaida's sponsor, the Taleban regime, from power in Afghanistan. Several top leaders of al-Qaida's Asia affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah, including those responsible for the October 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali, Indonesia, have been captured or killed.

But as the U-N report makes clear, more must be done to identify al-Qaida terrorists, starve them of funds, and prevent them from obtaining weapons, especially weapons of mass destruction. As President George W. Bush put it, these al-Qaida killers "need to be stopped. And we will stop them."

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