New Delhi, 27 July 1996/MS/15250/c-is



Indian Prime Minister, H. D. Deve Gowda, has called upon democratic societies to cooperate and take united action against the common challenges of terrorism and its sponsors. Delivering his inaugural address at the International Conference on Democracy and Terrorism organized by the International Institute of Non-aligned Studies, the Prime Minister called for an early conclusion of an International Convention to Combat Terrorism, under the aegis of the United Nations. He spoke of a growing international consensus to combat terrorism. He particularly referred to the resolution of the XIth Summit of the Non-aligned Movement condemning terrorism and any support extended to it by others, and to the SAARC Convention on Suppression of Terrorism.

The inaugural session of the conference was also addressed by Indian Home Minister, Indrajeet Gupta. The valedictory address was given by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha (Parliament of India), P.A. Sangma. The External Affairs Minister of India, J. K. Gujral, met with the participants at a reception at the conclusion of the conference. All leading political parties of India were represented at the meeting.

Eminent experts, politicians and diplomats from all continents took part in the deliberations, among them Ms. Khanum Gauhar Aijaz, former Minister of Social Affairs of the Government of Sindh (Pakistan), and Dr. Murad Ghaleb, former Foreign Minister of Egypt and Secretary-General of the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization. The President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), Dr. Hans Koechler, acted as chairman of the final working session and as co-ordinator of the Drafting Committee.

At the end of the conference the participants adopted a Declaration where they drew the attention of all states to the danger of applying double standards in the field of terrorism. "International terrorism cannot effectively be suppressed if international commitments are unilaterally interpreted according to narrow interests," the Declaration stated. The participants considered terrorism as the very antithesis to democracy. They stated that the problem of terrorism can only be solved on the basis of democracy that provides for social justice and peaceful coexistence among population groups.

In a special meeting after the conference, the President of the I.P.O., Dr. Hans Koechler, gave a lecture on "The United Nations and International Democracy" at the invitation of the Foreign Affairs Club of India and the Institute of Diplomatic Studies.