Fight against terrorism starts with putting treaties into action, Annan tells Security Council

Fight against terrorism starts with putting treaties into action, Annan tells Security Council

UN Secretary-General addressing Security Council
The fight against terrorism must begin with ensuring that the dozen legal instruments on international terrorism adopted under United Nations auspices were signed, ratified and implemented “without delay,” Secretary-Genera Kofi Annan told the Security Council today as it began a ministerial-level meeting on the threats to peace caused by terrorists acts.

In his opening address, the Secretary-General said that while he understood and accepted the need for legal precision in defining terrorism, there was also a need for moral clarity. “There can be no acceptance of those who seek to justify the deliberate taking of innocent civilian life, regardless of cause or grievance,” he said.

Mr. Annan also called for the strengthening of global norms against the use or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as any types of weapons – such as small arms and landmines – that “pose grave dangers through terrorist use.”

In welcoming the international community’s resolve to fight terrorism, the Secretary-General pointed out “the reality is that like war, terrorism is an immensely complicated phenomenon with multiple objectives and causes, a multitude of weapons and agents, and virtually limitless manifestations.

“The only common denominator among different variants of terrorism is the calculated use of deadly violence against civilians for political purposes,” he said. “It is, however, this common denominator that provides the UN a common cause and a common agenda.”

Ultimately, the world community’s success would be measured in terrorist acts thwarted and lives saved, Mr. Annan said, “but I am confident that the unity born of 11 September can be sustained in the months and years ahead.”

Convened on the initiative of Ukraine, the meeting was chaired by Minister K.D. Knight of Jamaica, which holds the Council presidency for the month of November. Foreign ministers from the Council's other 14 members took part in the debate, which culminated in the adoption of a resolution calling on all States to take urgent steps in the fight against terrorism.