13 September 2001



NEW YORK, 12 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the statement made today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the first meeting of the fifty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly:

Mr. President -– congratulations on your election to this important responsibility.

I can only regret, as you yourself have done, that you should have to assume it at such a dark day for the United States, and indeed for the whole world –- and that this draft resolution should be the first item of business over which you preside.

Our host country, and this wonderful host city that has been so good to us over five decades, have just been subjected to a terrorist attack such as we had hardly dared to imagine, even in our worst nightmares.

We are all struggling to find words to express our sense of grief and outrage, our profound sympathy for the untold numbers of injured and bereaved, and our solidarity with the people and Government of the United States in this hour of trial.

We are struggling, too, to voice our intense admiration and respect for the valiant police officers, fire fighters, and workers of all kinds who are engaged in the rescue and recovery effort –- and especially for those, far too numerous, whose determination to help their fellow men and women has cost them their own lives.

We are struggling, above all, to find adequate words of condemnation for those who planned and carried out these abominable attacks.

In truth, no such words can be found. And words, in any case, are not enough.

This Assembly, Mr. President, has condemned terrorism on numerous occasions. It has said repeatedly that terrorist acts are never justified, no matter what considerations may be invoked.

And it has called on all States to adopt measures, in accordance with the Charter and other relevant provisions of international law, to prevent terrorism and strengthen international cooperation against it.

Excellencies, we must now go further.

Earlier today, as you know, the Security Council expressed its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to yesterday’s attacks, and to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter.

I trust that it will indeed take such steps, and that this Assembly -- and all its Members -- will follow suit. All nations of the world must be united in their solidarity with the victims of terrorism, and in their determination to take action -– both against the terrorists themselves and against all those who give them any kind of shelter, assistance or encouragement.

I trust, Mr. President, that that message will go out loud and clear to the whole world from every Member of this Assembly, which represents the whole world.

Thank you very much.

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