CIAO DATE: 11/01

Ottawa Ministerial Declaration on Countering Terrorism

Ottawa Ministerial
U.S. Department of State
December 12, 1995

Released at the Ottawa Ministerial on December 12, 1995.


1. We met in Ottawa on December 12, as agreed upon at the Halifax Summit in June 1995 by the Heads of State and Government of the seven most industrialized nations and Russia, to discuss specific, cooperative measures to deter, prevent and investigate terrorist acts. We fulfilled our mandate and are united in our determination to work together with the entire international community to combat terrorism in all its forms.

G-7/P-8 History

2. Since 1978, the G-7 partners have worked together to counter terrorism. Their cooperation has been instrumental in obtaining agreements in many fora on issues such as transportation security and the exchange of information. There has also been extensive work by the G-7, over the course of the last two decades on ensuring that loopholes in national legislation are closed, and that countries act in concert in denying arms and free movement to terrorists. These efforts have shown leadership to the international community as a whole. Russia's experience and participation is of great assistance in supporting the efforts of Summit partners in combating terrorism.

Review of Recent Trends

3. We began by exchanging views on recent major terrorist events including the Tokyo subway attacks, the bombing in Oklahoma City, the hostage taking in Budennovsk, major terrorist attacks against the Middle East peace process (including the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin), the persistent attacks by the ETA, the bombing campaign in France, and the bombings in Riyadh and Islamabad. These and other events point to a number of trends including an upsurge in domestic terrorism, an increase in hostage taking and indiscriminate violence by religious extremists and apocalyptic groups which practice terrorism, as well as continuing examples of attacks on tourists and the export regional conflicts. These developments have been accompanied by a continuing use of conventional weapons, in particular those designed for massive explosions, and by a new and worrying use of non-conventional, for example chemical, weapons. We call for political groups to use dialogue, exercise tolerance and repudiate the use of terrorism. We offer dialogue to those who reject violence and respect the law. Those who attempt to achieve their aims through violence will, however, meet with our strongest resolve and be held accountable for their criminal acts.

Improved International Cooperation

4. We are determined to work together in the international community, with international organizations, institutions and other fora to fight terrorism. We will work in all organizations of the UN family, the General Assembly and all other appropriate fora to identify and adopt practical measures to fight terrorism, including where necessary legal instruments. We will work bilaterally and multilaterally, taking full advantage of such organizations as Interpol, to improve measures against terrorism. We will propose and support information sharing with and among members of other regional organizations. We welcome, for example, the efforts made in the context of the recent sub-regional meeting in Buenos Aires, and the prospects for the OAS Ministerial meetings on terrorism.

International and Domestic Legal Framework

5. We call on all states to strive to become party to the existing international conventions concerned with countering terrorism and urgently bring their domestic legislation into harmony with those conventions by the year 2000. It is our view that strong laws, effectively enforced, continue to be a convincing deterrent in combating terrorism. We call upon all States that assist terrorists to renounce terrorism and to deny financial support. All perpetrators of terrorist acts must be brought to swift justice. Stronger law enforcement cooperation and mutual legal assistant are among the measures best suited to deter and prevent international terrorist acts and punish terrorists. We have decided to have our experts continue to explore new ways of enhancing the current international legal regime, in particular to address new forms of terrorism. To avoid terrorists escaping punishment we call on all States to strengthen their domestic, bilateral or international extradition arrangements and to consider adoption of additional instruments.

Exchange of Expertise and Information to Prevent Terrorist Acts

6. One of the more effective tools we have to counter terrorism is sharing information among ourselves and with others. Terrorists operate secretively. Intelligence concerning terrorists, their movements, their support and their weapons are essential for countering their activities and enforcing laws against terrorism. Increasing the sharing of expertise, information, and intelligence between our countries and among the international community, is essential for countering terrorism. With an aim to preventing terrorist acts we propose to:

Taking of Hostages

7. We noted the sinister increase in the taking of hostages by terrorists and other criminals. We call on all states that have not already done so to adhere to the 1979 International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages. We call on all States to condemn the practice of hostage-taking; to refuse to make substantive concessions to hostage-takers; to work for the safety of those taken hostage; to deny to hostage takers any benefits from their criminal acts; to work tirelessly together to resolve ongoing hostage cases, and to bring to justice those responsible.

New Threats Related to Weapons of Mass Destruction

8. We intend to strengthen measures to prevent the use of weapons designed to induce high casualty rates and encourage others to do likewise. We also noted with deep concern the chemical gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system which caused deaths and widespread injury. We urge all Governments to take the strongest measures to prevent toxic chemicals and biological agents from getting into the hands of terrorists and to adopt appropriate national legislation and controls in line with the Chemical Weapons and Biological and Toxin Weapons Conventions. We invite countries who have already taken such measures to share their expertise with those who wish to take such measures. We have agreed to exchange information among ourselves and with others. We will implement measures to deter and respond to chemical and biological terrorist threats and incidents and to investigate and prevent the illicit production, trafficking, possession and use of such substances. We encourage other governments to join in this effort. We ask our experts in this area to meet and further pursue development of these measures. We have asked the experts concerned with the preparation of the Moscow Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security to be held in spring of 1996 to also consider measures, taking into account the 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materiel, to prevent nuclear materiel falling into the hands of terrorists.

Preventing the Movement of Terrorists

9. Effective entry controls, assisted by new and emerging technologies, will help prevent the spread of terrorism. We, therefore, propose to cooperate further in the development of travel documents which are more difficult to falsify and to increase joint training and information sharing among ourselves, and with others, on fraudulent travel document detection and immigration control. In this regard we recognized the importance of the ICAO standards being adopted and urge all countries to implement them. We also call on all States to enforce sanctions against the use of false and fraudulent documents. Within the framework of international law and in our own jurisdictions we will deny entry to all those, including diplomats, who, on the basis of available information, are involved in terrorist activities and thereby pose a threat to national security.

Transportation Security

10. We have agreed to work together and with others to continue to improve security of all forms of transportation around the world. To date there are seven international conventions and treaties related to transportation security which have had a marked impact on maritime and aviation security. We encourage the current work of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop common standards for security procedures to boost security in the aviation and maritime fields. Their resolutions must be implemented by the entire international community with an aim of fighting international mechanisms in the fight against terrorism.

Public Facilities

11. Terrorists take advantage of the openness and vulnerability of public facilities, particularly in free societies. As anti-terrorist measures have become more successful, terrorists are looking to new targets of opportunity in their attacks. In order to reduce the risks to our citizens, we pledge to cooperate further and to share information and experiences concerning the protection and securing of possible targets such as transport systems, information systems, public utilities, and public buildings including diplomatic premises.

Terrorism Funding

12. We have agreed to pursue measures aimed at depriving terrorists of their sources of finance. We encourage all States to take action in cooperation with other States, to prevent terrorists from raising funds that in any way support terrorist activities and explore the means of tracking and freezing assets used by terrorist groups.

Conclusion and Guidelines for Action

13. We are determined as a group to continue to provide leadership on this issue to the international community, using bilateral and multilateral measures and agreements to counter terrorism. We will continue to develop specific, cooperative measures to deter, prevent, and investigate terrorist acts and to bring terrorist to justice. We will take action to implement the guidelines set forth in this declaration and summarized as follows:

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