Briefing by Ambassador Wittig, Chairperson of the 1267 Committee, in the Security Council Debate

May 16, 2011

(as delivered)

Mr. President,

I have had the honour to assume the chairmanship of the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee in January 2011. In today’s briefing, I would like to give an overview of the Committee’s activities and achievements since the last briefing in November 2010, and in addition I would like to offer comments on the future work of this Committee from the Chairman’s point of view.

Mr. President,

at the outset, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting (Austria) and his team, for his excellent work in steering the Committee in 2009 and 2010. Under the able Austrian chairmanship the Committee concluded successfully the first comprehensive review of the Consolidated List.

Today, I am pleased to report that the Committee, building on these efforts, has approved the most comprehensive set of updates to the Consolidated List and the largest group of narrative summaries of reasons for listing in its history. Specifically, the Committee has just agreed to 78 list amendments and to make publicly available almost 200 additional summaries of reasons for listing. The additional narrative summaries will further facilitate the implementation of the sanctions. They mark an important step to close an information gap and further enhance fair and clear procedures. However, this Council has clearly flagged in resolution 1904 (2009) that further efforts to this end are required.

Let me focus on three important aspects of the committees work:

First, the Council directed the Committee to continue to conduct reviews on a regular basis, and the Committee, supported by the relevant Member States, the Monitoring Team and the Secretariat is working hard to deliver.

The review of 48 individuals reported to be deceased pursuant to paragraph 26 of resolution 1904 (2009) is currently underway. I would like to take this opportuni- ty to thank Member States for their cooperation and their efforts in submitting to the Committee any relevant information in the context of this review.

The Committee aims to conclude this review by the end of May before conducting other reviews as requested by the Council in resolution 1904 (2009). In addition, the Committee decided to review listed entities that are reported to have ceased to exist and agreed on a paper outlining the modalities of this specialized review.

Secondly, with resolution 1904 (2009), this Council established the Office of the Ombudsperson. As of today the Ombudsperson, Judge Kimberly Prost, has received 10 requests for delisting. The Ombudsperson submitted her first Comprehensive Report on a specific delisting request to the Committee in February 2011, and two further Comprehensive Reports on two additional delisting cases in April 2011.

The Committee is currently considering these de-listing requests and has been discussing with the Ombudsperson her observations, including the methodology and standards applied in her reviews of the requests. The Committee will conclude its considerations according to resolution 1904 (2009) and the relevant guidelines.

The Committee views the assistance of the Ombudsperson as valuable and helpful for reaching well-founded decisions. The Committee is currently considering options in this regard.

Thirdly, resolution 1904 (2009) encourages all members of the Committee to provide reasons for objecting to delisting requests. As Chair, I am insisting that all Committee members do so in a timely manner. In this connection, I am pleased to note that the Committee has been able to reach a consensus on the way and the form in which reasons for the Committee’s decision could be communicated to relevant stakeholders on a case-by-case basis.

In order not to overstretch your patience and attention span, I omit paragraphs referring to facts and figures and refer to my written statement. However I would like to draw your attention to the change and challenges and give you the Chairman's view.

Mr. President,

the 1267 regime was established in 1999, more than eleven years ago, in response to attacks planned by Usama bin Laden and perpetrated by Al-Qaida. As times change the threats posed by international terrorism evolve. Mr. President, please allow me to share some brief comments on current changes and future challenges, in my personal capacity but informed by my experience as Chairman of the Committee.

Firstly, the death of Usama bin Laden constitutes clearly an important landmark, a turning point. However, it is neither the end of Al-Qaida nor the end of terrorism.

The Committee will duly assess the implications which recent events may have on the nature of the threat posed by Al-Qaida and the Taliban, and on the future work of the Committee.

The Monitoring Team will have to monitor closely current and future developments in this regard. It is clear, however, that the rigorous implementation of the sanctions measures remains essential, since various groups associated with Al-Qaida remain active around the world, constituting a continued threat to international peace and security.

At the same time, the Committee, supported by the Monitoring Team, should consider how it can best play its part in further marginalising Al-Qaida and how it can ensure that the 1267 list continues to fully and adequately reflect the evolving threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliated networks.

Secondly, regarding Afghanistan, the Committee has discussed possible implications that political dialogue in Afghanistan may have on the work of the Committee and the future design of the regime.

The Monitoring Team in its recommendations paper has provided several options for developing the 1267 regime further according to the perceived needs of political dialogue in Afghanistan.

It is the view of the Chairman that the Committee and the 1267 regime as a whole must be prepared to play a facilitating and supporting role in a political dialogue and must not become a stumbling block towards peace and security in the region.

The Committee has been proactive in seeking and taking into account the views of the Afghan government in the process of listing and de-listing Afghan Taliban.

The Committee will consider a draft check list of necessary supporting documentation for de-listing requests. However, taking into account the dynamics of political processes, it is the view of the Chairman that the design of the regime may have to be further developed.

As Chairman I recommend that the Council should carefully review and calibrate the criteria for listing and de-listing of Afghan Taliban, reflecting in particular the internationally agreed criteria in the reconciliation process. And the Council may wish to consider options for granting an even more visible role to the Afghan government in this process with a view to the transition process and the principle of Afghan ownership.

Finally, Mr. President, as Chairman I am pleased to note that the need of continued reforms as regards fair and clear procedures remains high on the agenda of the members of the Committee.

At the same time I also have to note that although many of the substantial reforms in resolution 1904 (2009) are currently being implemented, they still represent a work in progress and the effects of this comprehensive reform agenda cannot be evaluated as yet.

This applies first and foremost to the most ambitious reform step of resolution 1904 (2009): the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsperson.

I have noticed that all members of the Committee are committed to making this a meaningful and credible process. This, however, does not exclude well-founded disagreement on particular cases.

As Chair, I am confident that the Ombudsperson process already in its current form will deliver tangible improvements as regards fair and clear procedures, in particular the right to be heard.

In compliance with the provisions of resolution 1904 (2009), the Ombudsperson’s findings are based on a thorough and conclusive examination of each delisting request. Already at this stage it is clear that the political will of all Council members to promote fair and clear procedures has added weight and rigor to the Ombudsperson process.

The observations, even though formally not of binding nature, are seriously considered and taken into account before deciding any delisting request presented through the Office of the Ombudsperson.

At the same time, Mr. President, as Chair of the Committee I am committed to continue to assist in trying to build consensus for further enhancing fair and clear procedures as well as the role of the Ombudsperson.

This concludes the Chairman’s personal views.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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