20 September 2006

States Must Make Immediate Start in Translating Commitments into Reality, Secretary-General Says at Launch of Counter-Terrorism Strategy

NEW YORK, 19 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the high-level segment launch of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as delivered by Mark Malloch Brown, Deputy Secretary-General:

The General Assembly has set out its vision for defeating terrorism around the world.  It is a vision for a comprehensive, coordinated and consistent response, at the national, regional and international levels.  It stems from a fundamental conviction we all share; that terrorism in all its forms, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, is unacceptable and can never be justified.  And it unites us behind a common strategic framework that sets out concrete measures to address terrorism in all its aspects.

The adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by all 192 UN Member States can be called an historic breakthrough in many ways.  But whether it proves to be truly historic in the eyes of the world's people will be known only in the weeks, months and years ahead, once we see what Member States actually implement.

If future generations are to live in a world free from terrorism and its inhumane tactics, Member States must embark without delay on the journey they have mapped out so carefully.  They must start translating their commitments into reality at once.

-- That means combating financing for terrorists, preventing them from acquiring conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction and ensuring that they are not granted asylum or given safe haven.

-- It means protecting vulnerable targets, promoting the needs of victims and ensuring that their voices are heard.

-- It means addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, while underscoring that none of these conditions justify it.

-- It means resolving the outstanding issues related to the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, so that it can be adopted by all States and serve as an effective instrument to further unite us.

-- And it means never, in any of our efforts, sacrificing our common responsibility to respect human rights and uphold the rule of law.

For my part, I am already working to implement those provisions in the strategy that fall under my purview.

-- I have asked the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force to coordinate among its members, so as to improve coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the UN family.

-- I am reaching out to biotechnology stakeholders to find ways of working together, to ensure that biotechnology advances are used not for terrorist or other criminal purposes, but for the public good.

-- And I am working to strengthen UN partnerships with regional and subregional organizations in countering terrorism. 

Even with this collective strategy in place, many Member States will still seek to go their own way.  But I hope they will consider this:

We now have a chance to harness real political will that has been built up over the past four months.

We have the opportunity to prove that multilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism works. 

We have, at last, the means to meet the global threat of terrorism with a truly global response.

I hope you will seize this moment.

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