Moscow: A top Russian official said that Russia was “shocked” over the “monstrous” attacks in Nice and emphasised the urgent need for the adoption of the long-stalled convention on terrorism at the UN which India and Russia are pushing for.
“We are all shocked by these tragic events. Here, in Russia, we feel this tragedy as our mutual tragedy," said Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of committee on foreign affairs at the Federal Assembly of Russia.
“It is obvious that terrorists are going to be more inventive and it is more and more difficult to predict the forms of their attacks,” he added.
However, he said that countering such acts of terrorism requires global cooperation that is obviously lacking. For starters, there is a need to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) which has been stuck for about two decades at the UN. The key sticking points are a lack of consensus on a definition of terrorism and who are terrorist organisations —whether such a definition could be applied to armed forces of a state or self-determination movements, among other issues.
India had again called for the quick adoption of the CCIT after the Dhaka attacks.
“The biggest threat to mankind is the weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists. I do not want to offend any country but I want to use Pakistan as an example. That’s the country that has nuclear weapons. That is a country next to very unquiet countries like Afghanistan. It is obvious that if, God forbid, there is a coup d'etat in Pakistan and there will be power in the hands of terrorists, all the rest that we are discussing right now will be insignificant,” Kosachev said.
Though there is no agreed definition on terrorism there are about 13 anti-terrorism conventions, he said. The Russian official said it was “unfortunate” that the proposed convention by India and Russia “that will comprise all other documents is not being implemented” due to the national interests of certain countries.
“So establishing this framework of international law is the key issue to start somewhere. Because as long as we don’t have it, we will continue to fight about who is good and who is bad. So we need to have this clear and strong definition to build coalitions at the practical level. We don’t have a base for this cooperation (yet),” he said.
A project between the EU and Russia in its late stages of implementation based on advanced technology to detect suicide bombers was abandoned after the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU, the official rued, adding that though this technology would not have prevented the Nice attack, it could have helped in the Brussels and Paris attacks.
More than 84 people were killed and 188 wounded when a truck mowed over people celebrating St. Bastille Day in Nice.
“We are ready to cooperate with anybody on this matter, EU included and probably EU in the first place,” Kosachev said.