Washington -- The
U.S. Senate approved October 7 the Inter-American Convention
Against Terrorism, which has received the strong support
of the Bush administration.
The administration had reaffirmed its firm
support for the counterterrorism convention in a letter
from Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Legislative Affairs
William Moschella urging the Senate to approve the measure.
Moschella wrote that the Bush administration "strongly"
supported the convention.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (Republican of
Alabama) said on the Senate floor before the agreement was
approved that the convention would provide an important
tool "in our war against terrorism and organized crime."
Sessions is a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism,
Technology and Homeland Security.
The United States signed the convention
in June 2002, but Senate approval was needed before the
United States could ratify the Western Hemisphere counterterrorism
measure. For the anti-terrorism convention to become officially
approved by the United States, the Senate’s ratification
must be subsequently signed and registered ("deposited")
by President Bush at the Organization of American States
The OAS General Assembly adopted the pact
in June 2002 in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The organization said the convention is
the first international measure against terrorism negotiated
after the September 11, 2001, attacks against the United
States. The convention provides the legal framework for
cooperation among the 34 OAS member states in the fight
The U.S. State Department pledged an additional
$1.6 million in February to strengthen and expand counterterrorism
coordination in the Western Hemisphere, bringing the total
U.S. contribution to $5 million on this issue since the
September 11 terrorist attacks. (See the State Department
According to the State Department report,
Reports on Terrorism 2004, terrorists in the Western
Hemisphere becoming increasingly active in illicit transnational
activities, including the drug trade, arms trafficking,
money laundering, contraband smuggling and document and
The report said the threat of international
terrorism in the Western Hemisphere remained relatively
low during 2004, compared to other world regions but added
that terrorists might seek safe haven, financing, recruiting,
illegal travel documentation, or access to the United States
from the hemisphere.
Terrorism was also the subject of a September
2004 State Department electronic journal, The
Global War on Terrorist Finance, available on the
State Department Web site.
of Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism is available
on the OAS Web site.
Washington File Staff Writer