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UN staff, officials mourn terror attacks against US

UN staff, officials mourn terror attacks against US

Over 2,000 staff from the United Nations office at Vienna today observed a moment of silence for the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks against the United States.

Among those present were staff from the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) who gathered as flags were lowered to half-mast at the Peace Bell in the Vienna International Centre.

Addressing the gathering, Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), said the magnitude of Tuesday's attacks "sounds an unprecedented global alarm." He said the attack had struck not only the US but also "open democratic societies and freedom to live in peace."

Mr. Arlacchi said the US should not be left alone to face the challenge of fighting terrorism. "The international community has to rally behind the nation which has been attacked," he said. "The community of nations has to rise to a new level of cooperation in order to identify and to dismantle not only the groups which threaten our freedom and security, but also the networks and powers behind them."

The Executive Director pledged that his Office would contribute to those efforts by working with Member States, helping to develop global legislative and preventive measures, and improving strategies to deal with international terrorism.

Meanwhile, senior UN officials in Nairobi conducted an emotional ceremony today at the UN Garden of Remembrance, which was created to honour the victims of the 1998 bombings in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam.

Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of the UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) said those in Nairobi who recalled the 1998 attacks which killed hundreds of people at US embassies "feel especially close to the victims and understand the kind of suffering such senseless and heinous acts cause for the victims and their families." The recent tragedy, she added, "reinforces our commitment to safer cities."

In a related development, the Director-General of the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons joined in condemning the attacks and extending condolences and solidarity with the US.

"The prospects for enduring peace and security in the twenty-first century will be immeasurably enhanced only when the international community intensifies its efforts to pool its resources of information and analysis about international terrorism," José Bustani said. "Only if there is a truly global sharing of strengths and capabilities will it prove possible to effectively counteract international terrorism on this scale."