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As UN remembers 11 September victims, Annan urges world unity in anti-terror fight

As UN remembers 11 September victims, Annan urges world unity in anti-terror fight

Mr. and Mrs. Annan, US Amb. Negroponte (left) and GA President Kavan
As delegates from around the world joined United Nations officials and staff at UN Headquarters this morning for a solemn ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States, Secretary-General Kofi Annan recalled the spirit of unity that seized the world on that tragic day a year ago and called for unified efforts to defeat the menace of terrorism.

"On September 11th, grief enveloped the globe - not only out of solidarity with the people of the United States, but out of shared loss," the Secretary-General said, noting that more than 90 nations lost citizens a year ago. "Today, we come together as a world community because we were attacked as a world community."

He stressed that everything that the UN worked for - peace development, health, freedom - was damaged by the horror of the attacks. "Everything that we believe in - respect for human rights, justice, pluralism and democracy - is threatened by" terrorism, Mr. Annan said. "It must be defeated - by the world acting as one."

He also underscored the UN's strong ties to New York City, despite an erroneous perception of the world body as somewhat of an enclave, isolated from its neighbours. "We at the United Nations are, in the deepest sense of the word, a part of this community," he said. "We are neighbours to all New Yorkers, both as individuals and as an institution."

For his part, the President of the UN General Assembly, Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic, said that the gathering served to celebrate the courage and selflessness with which the American people responded to the tragedy. The invincible spirit and extraordinary heroism of the people of New York have been an inspiration to all, he noted, paying tribute "to this magnificent city and the immense determination with which it embarked on the way to recovery and the difficult process of healing."

In his remarks, Ambassador John Negroponte of the United States thanked those who expressed their personal solidarity "as friends of New York and America," recalling that the UN understood the 11 September attacks to be attacks on civilization everywhere. "The General Assembly gave swift voice to its outrage, the Secretary-General spoke out forcefully and the Security Council condemned acts of international terrorism as threats to international peace and security," he noted. "The United States is grateful for this solidarity."

Rosemarie Waters, President of the UN Staff Union, noted that the Organization's personnel worked to give hope to the hopeless, to secure human dignity for all, and to bring the message of peace to even the most remote and troubled areas of the world. "The loss of life on September 11th has made us saddened, but spirited to continue our mission to strengthen the capacity of the international community to prevent such attacks," she said.