U.N. Security Council condemns 'acts of terror'
Saturday, December 14, 2002
UNITED NATIONS -- Over Syrian objections, the U.N. Security Council on Friday condemned last month's "acts of terror" against Israeli targets in Kenya and deplored the claims of responsibility by the al-Qaida terror network.
By a vote of 14-1, the council urged all 191 U.N. members "to cooperate in efforts to find and bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks." It was a rare show of support for Israel from the U.N. Security Council.
Ten Kenyans and three Israelis died Nov. 28 when a vehicle packed with explosives plowed into the Paradise Hotel, 12 miles north of Mombasa. Minutes before the blast, two missiles were fired at an Arkia Airlines aircraft as it was taking off from Mombasa airport with Israeli tourists returning to Tel Aviv. The missiles narrowly missed the jet.
Syria's U.N. Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe said his government condemned the attacks but could not accept Israel being linked to efforts to combat terrorism while "ignoring the terrorism the Israelis are committing daily and particularly against the Palestinian people."
Israel's deputy U.N. ambassador Aaron Jacob expressed regret at Syria's objection, saying "the target of the attacks in Mombasa, Kenya, were clearly Israelis and an Israeli airliner."
He thanked the council for adopting the resolution, saying it sends "a reassuring message to the families of the victims as well as the international community" that there is a determination to fight international terrorism.
"It also recognizes the danger of the use of missiles against civilian aviation as a new means used by international terrorists," Jacob said.
The Security Council resolution condemns "the terrorist bomb attack" and the attempted missile attack against "Arkia Israeli Airlines ... as well as other recent terrorist acts in various countries, and regards such acts, like any act of international terrorism, as a threat to international peace and security."
It "expresses the deepest sympathy and condolences to the people and the governments of Kenya and Israel and to the victims of the terrorist attack and their families."
It also deplored the Dec. 2 and Dec. 8 claims of responsibility by al-Qaida.
Wehbe claimed that the council was exercising a "double standard" by singling out Israel as the target of the Kenyan attack.
He stressed that it named no countries in resolutions condemning the October nightclub bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali that killed more than 190 people and a hostage-taking attack on a Moscow theater which claimed 129 lives.
Wehbe claimed the resolution contained "unacceptable political connotations and references that reflect negatively on the situation in the Mideast region and occupied territories."
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said Washington insisted on including Israel because it was clearly the target of the attacks in Kenya
"In past resolutions we've certainly called for an end to terrorism in Israel," Negroponte said. "This one has the particular linkage with international terrorism which has been on the forefront of the council's agenda since (Sept. 11) and I think that focus is sharpened even further with the fact that al-Qaida has claimed credit for this attack."
The resolution reminded all U.N. members of their obligations under previous resolutions to stop supporting, financing and giving sanctuary to terrorists.