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U.N. Widens Anti-Terrorism Effort

Caption The United Nations Security Council unanimously 15-0 approved the resolution on Iraq at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Tuesday, June 8, 2004. (AP Photo/Osamu Honda)
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The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to step up the global campaign against terrorism, calling on all nations to prosecute or extradite anyone supporting, financing or participating in terrorist acts.

The 15-0 vote culminated weeks of negotiations by Russia, which introduced the resolution after militants staged a series of attacks there including the suicide bombing of two planes and the hostage-taking of a school in Beslan. It was adopted a day after several car bombings targeted Israelis in Egyptian resorts in Sinai.

"We think these events stressed even more the urgency to take further practical steps in the fight against terrorism and we consider the U.N. is the best coordinator in this fight," Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Alexander Konuzin said, when asked about the resolution's importance after the Egyptian attacks.

The resolution creates a Security Council working group to study measures to be taken against terrorists and terrorist groups that are not affiliated with al Qaeda or Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers.

The council has already imposed stiff sanctions against those groups — requiring all 191 U.N. member states to impose a travel ban and arms embargo against a list of those linked to the Taliban or al Qaeda and to freeze their financial assets. But it has not examined what actions to take against other terrorists.

"It is important that we have agreed in principle to consider measures against terrorists other than those linked to Al Qaeda," said Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali.

Pakistan and Algeria, the only Muslim nations on the 15-member council, both expressed concern this week that language in the final draft of the resolution would make it a crime to fight in a liberation war, and that a new list of terrorist subjects would be compiled.

During final negotiations that continued into the evening on Thursday and resumed Friday morning before the vote, the text was changed to make clear that the resolution targeted only criminal acts defined in international conventions dealing with terrorism.

The reference to a possible terrorist list, as one measure the working group would consider, was dropped at the last minute.

The U.S. State Department does keep such a list, and it goes well beyond al Qaeda and the Middle East, to include such groups as the Real IRA, Spain's Basque separatists, the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines and Colombian militants.