7 November 2001


Message to Warsaw Meeting Says Current Military Action in Afghanistan
Fits Context of Security Council Resolutions, UN Charter on Self-Defense

NEW YORK, 6 November (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a message today from Secretary-General Kofi Annan (delivered by Vladimir Petrovsky, Director-General, United Nations, Geneva) to the Warsaw Conference of heads of State from central and eastern Europe on combating terrorism:

I wish to convey my warm greetings to President Kwasniewski -- as well as the other leaders of central and eastern European States -– who are meeting to combat international terrorism. Your meeting today is a reflection of the importance all states attach to this fight, and a recognition that terrorism is a threat to all States -- great and small; rich and poor. The 11 September attacks were assaults on humanity, and humanity must respond to them as one. Every nation and every people have a responsibility to fight against terrorism by ensuring that differences and disputes are resolved through political means, and not through violence.

For the United Nations, it is essential that the global response to terrorism be truly universal and not divisive. North, South, East and West must come together to forge a sense of human solidarity and unified purpose. To defeat terrorism, we need a sustained effort and a broad strategy that unite all nations, and address all aspects of the scourge we face. We are in a moral struggle to fight an evil that is anathema to all faiths. The struggle will be long, for there is much to do. Terrorists must not be given shelter and their financial mechanisms and logistical supports must be destroyed. The international community has at its disposal political, legal, diplomatic and financial means, which it must use in innovative ways to combat terrorism.

Following the 11 September attacks in the United States, both the Security Council and the General Assembly adopted strong resolutions condemning the attacks and calling on all States to cooperate in bringing the perpetrators to justice. The Security Council expressed its determination to combat, by all means, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. The Council also reaffirmed the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. The States concerned have set their current military action in Afghanistan in that context.

The Security Council also adopted unanimously a broad resolution —- resolution 1373 -— aimed at targeting terrorists and those who harbour, aid or support them. That resolution requires Member States to cooperate in a wide range of areas —- from suppressing the financing of terrorism to providing early warning, cooperating in criminal investigations, and exchanging information on possible terrorist acts. Now all Member States must make greater efforts to exchange information about practices that have proved effective, and lessons that have been learned, in the fight against terrorism —- so that a global standard of excellence can be set.

The Security Council also established a Committee consisting of all members of the Council to monitor the implementation of resolution 1373. To this end, the "Counter-Terrorism Committee", chaired by the United Kingdom, has transmitted Guidance to States for the submission of reports on the steps that States have taken to implement the resolution.

The Committee has also invited States to submit names of individuals available to be appointed to assist its programme of work. Counter-terrorism experts are being sought in the fields of customs, immigration, extradition and financial law and practice, police and law enforcement work and illegal arms trafficking. I appeal to all the leaders at the Warsaw meeting to collaborate with the Committee in order to ensure the full implementation of resolution 1373.

The General Assembly has already adopted 12 conventions and protocols on combating terrorism. When the Assembly completes its work on a comprehensive convention on terrorism, I urge Member States to sign, ratify and implement it very quickly. The Security Council and General Assembly actions will provide a common legal framework for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism. In the long-term, this is the way to succeed in our joint efforts.

The victims of the attacks on 11 September were, first and foremost, the innocent civilians who lost their lives. The victims were also their families who now grieve for them. But peace, tolerance, mutual respect, human rights, the rule of law, and the global economy are all threatened by the terrorists’ acts. In order to restore trust among peoples and cultures, a concerted international response can make the work of terrorists much harder to accomplish. The unity born out of this tragedy should bring all nations together in defence of the most basic right —- the right of all peoples to live in peace and security. This is the challenge before us as we seek to eliminate terrorism in every part of the world.

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