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Solidarity generated after attacks on US must extend beyond terrorism: Fréchette

Solidarity generated after attacks on US must extend beyond terrorism: Fréchette

Louise Fréchette
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette today said the wave of human solidarity generated after the terrorist attacks against the United States must extend beyond terrorism to helping people be able to improve their lives.

"We will have a better chance of winning the battle over terrorism if people around the world, especially young people, feel they can hope for a future that is better than that of their parents," Ms. Fréchette said in an address this morning at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where she accepted an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

"This will not happen unless those who have more reach out to those who have less," she said, calling it "scandalous" that foreign aid has dropped to its lowest level ever in terms of percentage of gross national product (GNP).

"Barriers and subsidies continue to impede trade in sectors of greatest interest to developing countries, particularly in agriculture," Ms. Fréchette said. "Debt burdens, although reduced in recent years, remain very high in too many developing countries. And arresting the AIDS pandemic will require significant and sustained new resources for many years to come."

While it would be an insult to the world's poor to suggest that poverty generated terrorism, Ms. Fréchette said, the "sick minds" that planned and executed the 11 September attacks have no right to invoke the poor as a justification for their action either.

There was no doubt in her mind "that if we reject what the terrorists stand for - violence, intolerance, fanaticism - if we want to protect the values that we hold dear - freedom, tolerance, justice, equality - then we must do better, much better, to bridge the gap between rich and poor," the Deputy Secretary-General said.