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Annan urges African leaders to ratify anti-terrorism treaties

Annan urges African leaders to ratify anti-terrorism treaties

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged African leaders gathered at a summit in Dakar to adhere to all legal instruments designed to fight the terrorist menace.

In a message to the summit on the African Pact Against Terrorism, Mr. Annan also pointed out that the global war against terrorism should not result in the neglect of other pressing issues, most notably efforts to eradicate poverty and disease. Nor should it be used as an excuse to weaken the foundations of good governance, such as human rights and fundamental liberties.

In addition, he stressed that international action should not create divisions between people of different cultures or religions, nor polarize the world into hostile camps - "rich against poor, or North against South."

The Secretary-General assured the Summit's participants that he would make every effort to ensure that Africa would not have to bear the brunt of the economic aftershocks following the 11 September attacks.

Mr. Annan's message was delivered on his behalf by the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahima Fall.