UNITED NATIONS – Russia, which argues that its war in Chechnya is part of the global fight against terrorism, proposed Thursday that the U.N. Security Council establish a new blacklist of terror suspects that calls for the extradition of anyone on it.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the world was facing a turning point and needs to recognize the “true nature of international terrorism.”
“Through their actions throughout the world, the terrorists have once and for all placed themselves in opposition to civilized mankind,” he said in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly.
Russia circulated a draft Security Council resolution asking the committee monitoring what governments are doing to fight terrorism to consider how to create a new list of “individuals, groups and entities involved in or associated with terrorist activities,” according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press.
The resolution also asked the committee to consider punishments against people on the list, including an arms embargo, freezing financial assets, and imposing travel bans and “expedited extradition of anyone named in the list.”
The United States was reviewing the proposal, said Secretary of State Colin Powell (news – web sites), who met with Lavrov for about 30 minutes on Thursday.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw supported the initiative and said Britain would work with Russia on the draft.
Russian officials have denounced Western countries for granting asylum to Chechen figures and for questioning Kremlin policy in the separatist region, saying the criticism hinders their fight against international terrorism.
Russia was particularly upset by Britain’s granting of refugee status to Akhmed Zakayev, an envoy for Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, and U.S. asylum for Ilyas Akhmadov, whom Maskhadov named as his foreign minister while he was Chechnya’s president in 1999.
“Harboring terrorists, their henchmen and sponsors undermines the unity and mutual trust of parties to the anti-terrorist front … and actually encourages them to commit similar crimes in other countries,” Lavrov said.
The introduction of the terror resolution comes about three weeks after militants staged a series of attacks in Russia, including the hostage crisis at a school in Beslan that killed more than 330.
Council diplomats said the resolution was likely to be formally introduced on Friday.
“The time has come … to reject double standards regarding terror,” Lavrov said. “Those who slaughtered children in Beslan and hijacked airplanes to attack America are creatures of the same breed.”
Lavrov has accused Maskhadov — who has a $10 million bounty on his head — of being involved in the school seizure. Maskhadov has denied that he played any role; Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility.
The draft resolution calls for cooperation between nations to find and prosecute terrorists. It said terror attacks cannot be justified by “consideration of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other similar nature.”
The document asks U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to submit his views on establishing a fund to compensate the terror victims. It could be financed by assets confiscated from terrorist organizations, the proposal said.
Russia also suggested drafting conventions on international terrorism and the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.
U.N. anti-terrorism sanctions require 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-Qaida and to freeze their financial assets.
The counterterrorism committee is monitoring a resolution adopted shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that requires all nations to stop supporting, financing and providing sanctuary to terrorists.