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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2001 > November

Remarks On Financial Aspects of Terrorism at Office of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Vienna, Virginia
November 7, 2001

(2:05 p.m. EST)

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure to be out here this afternoon. And, Mr. President, Secretary O'Neill, Attorney General Ashcroft and Mr. Sloan, I also add my congratulations to the earlier speakers for the wonderful work that is being done here.

It is a pleasure to be here really because, with this event, we build on success, success in starving terrorists of their money, for money is the oxygen of terrorism. Without the means to raise and move money around the world, terrorists can not function.

Mr. President, your executive order on terrorist financing has been a critical part of our efforts worldwide to deny the terrorists their financial oxygen. We have moved aggressively against the individuals and organizations covered by your executive order.

And with your announcement today, we have taken our efforts to a new level. We are now going after the hawala organizations, the shadowy financial networks that underpin the terrorist underworld. Cutting off their financial flows that feed terrorism requires international cooperation on the broadest scale, and I am pleased by the strong support and cooperation that our efforts are receiving.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 requires member-states to prevent the financing of terrorist acts, to criminalize the provision of funds to terrorists, and to freeze funds and other assets of terrorists and of their supporters. This is a binding obligation under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter.

In the past few weeks alone, over 130 countries have committed to implement this crucial element of the campaign against terrorism. But that is not good enough. We are working hard to get 100 percent adherence to Resolution 1373, and to that end we have named an experienced diplomat, Ambassador Ted McNamara, to lead our efforts around the world to bring the remaining countries on board, bring them in support of the UN resolution.

So far, we and our international partners have frozen millions of dollars in terrorist assets, as you just heard. Saudi Arabia has been prominent among the countries acting against the accounts of terrorist organizations. We and our partners have millions more in suspect accounts under review.

But this is only a beginning. There is more to do, and we are doing it. For example, we are pressing all countries to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, a treaty which removes legal obstacles to more effective international cooperation against terrorism. And I am delighted that Saudi Arabia, once again, has just ratified this convention. We are now working with our United States Senate to gain its consent to our ratification of that treaty.

Mr. President, the coalition against terrorism is strong and we are making real progress against the terrorists under your leadership. And I can tell you, you can count on your State Department and our many dedicated employees around the world to do their very best in making sure that we will prevail in this campaign. Thank you, sir, very much.

And now it is my pleasure to present my colleague and friend, the Attorney General of the United States, John Ashcroft. (Applause.)

(2:10 p.m. EST)

Released on November 7, 2001

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