UN Security Council Resolution Calls for Release of All Hostages Wherever and by Whomever Held

The United Nations Security Council called today for the release of all hostages wherever and by whomever they are held. The resolution, adopted unanimously by the 15-member body which includes the Soviet Union, condemned all acts of hostage-taking and kidnapping without referring to any specific instance.

The landmark resolution was believed prompted by a series of such acts in the Middle East and Latin America. It followed by a week the General Assembly’s unanimous condemnation of all forms of terrorism as “criminal.” In October, the Security Council unanimously condemned terrorism “in all its forms,” and, specifically, the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.

Today’s resolution, adopted without debate, was moved at the initiative of the United States in consultation with the Soviet Union and other Security Council members. It was sponsored by the U.S., Britain, France, Denmark, Australia, Egypt, Peru and Trinidad-Tobago.

The draft urges the further development of international cooperation to find measures to prevent, prosecute and punish all acts of hostage-taking abduction and other manifestations of international terrorism.

STATEMENT BY U.S. AMBASSADOR

Vernon Walters, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, observed that “only by concerted worldwide action can we hope to put an end to the repugnant practice of hostage-taking. It is clear from the resolution that no ’cause’, no ‘excuses’ can justify such threats to human rights and human lives.”

He added that the resolution today, combined with the General Assembly’s earlier action, puts the UN “firmly on record against all terrorist crimes.” He said that while the “lunatic fringe” cannot be expected to desist, “all law-abiding states” are expected “to take all practicable measures to prevent terrorism and to prosecute and punish all terrorists wherever they are.”

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