Press Releases

    12 September 2002


    NEW YORK, 11 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council meeting on the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States:

    I am happy that you are here and also so many Foreign Ministers who are marking this solemn occasion with us.

    September 11th is one of those cataclysmic events -- like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy -- that will stay forever fresh and vivid in our memory. No matter how long each of us lives, we will remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. Recalling the terrible, dark day, I start by expressing my profound sympathy with the people of the United States, who suffered so grievously as a result of that terrible atrocity.

    I express my deepest condolences to the families of the thousands of men and women from more than 90 countries who were murdered on that day -- and whose own lives have changed utterly. Together, they represented a United Nations of world citizens, coming together in one city to seek a better future for themselves and their families. Their deaths diminish all mankind, and all mankind must come together to restore the sanctity of the values we hold dear -- tolerance, pluralism, peace, and the respect for every human life.

    The United Nations was founded to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war -- and today the Nations are united to defend humanity from a new kind of warfare. We are all called upon to defeat an enemy that makes no distinction between the weak and the strong, the high or the low -- an enemy who sees as a target the entire edifice of international cooperation to which the United Nations is dedicated.

    No body has a more central role to play in meeting this challenge than the Security Council. Over the last year, you have fulfilled this role with patience, creativity and determination -- showing by your actions how essential it is to defeat terrorism by building the broadest possible international coalition.

    On the very day after the attacks, the General Assembly and the Security Council adopted strong resolutions condemning them and calling on all States to cooperate in bringing the perpetrators to justice. Subsequently, the Security Council adopted unanimously a far-reaching resolution aimed at targeting terrorists and those who harbour, aid or support them. Under that resolution, Member States are cooperating in a wide range of areas -- from suppressing the financing of terrorism to providing early warning, cooperating in criminal investigations, and exchanging information.

    The past year has also given us hope that terrorism can be defeated, if the international community summons the will to unite in a broad coalition. As the work of this Council has shown, the United Nations remains uniquely positioned to serve as the forum for this coalition, and for the development of those steps governments must now take -- separately and together -- to combat terrorism on a global scale.

    The legitimacy that the United Nations conveys can ensure that the greatest number of States are able and willing to take the necessary and difficult steps -- diplomatic, legal and political -- that are needed to defeat terrorism. Today, one year after the attacks, the importance of global legitimacy in the fight against terrorism has only grown. I call on the Council to strive even harder to ensure that the struggle ahead wins the highest possible support.

    All humanity has a stake in this fight. The United Nations must ensure that it is fought in unison, and won in a legitimate way.

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