UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday urged all countries of the world to join the international fight against terrorism, warning that without united global action the effort would fail.
"Terrorism will be defeated if the international community unites in a broad coalition, or it will not be defeated at all," he said.
The secretary-general made the statement at a week-long debate at the United Nations General Assembly on international terrorism, the first such international forum since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people from some 60 countries.
"The United Nations is uniquely positioned to serve as the forum for this coalition, and for the development of those steps governments must now take -- separately and together -- to fight terrorism on a global scale," Annan said.
Meanwhile, Annan also welcomed the UN Security Council's adoption late Friday of a broad resolution aimed at targeting terrorists and those who harbor, aid or support them.
"I applaud the council for acting so swiftly to enshrine in law the steps needed to carry this fight forward with new vigor and determination," he said, urging all nations to support the effort.
Referring to the work of the General Assembly, Annan noted that it must give effect to the 12 UN treaties and protocols on international terrorism. He proposed that countries "make it their first order of business during the general debate to sign all the conventions on terrorism, and pledge to work for their ratification and implementation without delay."
In addition, he urged all states to forge agreement on a comprehensive convention against international terrorism. Warning of other threats, the secretary-general pointed out that a single attack involving a nuclear or biological weapon could kill millions.
"While the world was unable to prevent the September 11 attacks, there is much we can do to help prevent future terrorist acts carried out with weapons of mass destruction," he emphasized. He called for redoubled efforts to implement key treaties relating to those arms, closer cooperation among international organizations dealing with them, and tighter national legislation covering the exports of goods and technologies used in their production.
Annan also called attention to the need to care for victims of that scourge, "whether they are the direct targets or other populations who will be affected by our common effort." In particular, he urged donors to support the recent UN humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan.
Seeking to draw lessons from the recent attacks, the secretary-general said, "Just as a concerted international response can make the work of terrorists much harder to accomplish, so should the unity born of this tragedy bring all nations together in defense of the most basic right -- the right of all peoples to live in peace and security."
(Xinhua News Agency 10/02/2001)