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At UN Assembly, States urge attention to terrorism and other security threats

At UN Assembly, States urge attention to terrorism and other security threats

President John Kufuor of Ghana
National leaders from across the globe addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York today called for measures to tackle terrorism and other security threats prevailing in the world today.

Ghana’s President John Kufour warned that “the persistent mayhem and carnage from terrorism” is challenging to the limit the world’s collective resolve to fight the scourge.

He also voiced concern on other questions of security, particularly the proliferation of small arms, the use of child soldiers and the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament.

Outlining his Government’s efforts to defeat domestic terrorism, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez said the State must be strong in dealing with the problem so that its citizens can live in peace.

He said there can be no justification for terrorism. “Facing a democracy that is deep and without ambiguities, no violent action can have overtones of legitimacy.”

For her part, Sri Lanka’s President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratonga, referred to her countries struggle against the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). “I tend to doubt that the Security Council's recent identification of this group on account of child conscription would suffice to deter such activities,” she said.

“Targeted sanctions such as those proposed by Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his report to the UN Security Council should be imposed on those armed groups who undermine national and international peace and violate human rights,” she stressed.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Laila Freivalds, said the Summit should have called for the implementation of disarmament commitments and compliance with non-proliferation undertakings. “The countries in possession of Nuclear Weapons have a special responsibility to disarm,” she said. “At the summit, there should have been decisions to strengthen verification. There should have been commitments to make the NPT and other arms conventions universal. Negotiation processes should have been given a boost by the Summit. Nothing of all this actually happened.”

Echoing this view, Ivan Gašparovic, the President of Slovakia, voiced regret that the Summit’s Outcome “leaves us with more questions than answers” on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation.

He stressed that in order to address the issue, “it is crucial to strengthen the supervisory competencies of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and to control more effectively the stages in the nuclear fuel cycle that involve uranium enrichment and plutonium processing.”

“Sixty summers have passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered the indescribable horrors of nuclear devastation,”

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Nobutaka Machimura, said. “Japan again calls upon all Member States to renew their determination to realize a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.”

He said that Japan would submit a General Assembly resolution “presenting a concrete agenda to strengthen the disarmament and nonproliferation regime, including a call for an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.”

Kurmanbek Bakiev, President of Kyrgyzstan, said the UN system is more engaged with development than security, and he called for the UN’s work in security to be strengthened.

But Mr. Bakiev added that development has an important link to security. “It is no accident that exactly in the poorest regions of the world, the most serious regional conflicts arise,” he said.