- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2001

NEW YORK New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani told diplomats at the U.N. General Assembly yesterday that they face a stark choice: civilization or terrorism with "no room for neutrality."
"The evidence of terrorism's brutality and inhumanity, of its contempt for life and the concept of peace, is lying beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center, less than two miles from where we meet today," said Mr. Giuliani, who rapidly has become a symbol of the defiant city.
It was the first speech by a sitting New York mayor to the United Nations in a half century.
"Look at that destruction, that massive, senseless, cruel loss of human life," said Mr. Giuliani.
"And then I ask you to look in your hearts and recognize that there is no room for neutrality on the issue of terrorism. You're either with civilization, or with the terrorists."
The United Nations, he added, "must hold accountable any nation that supports or condones terrorism."
"Otherwise, you will fail in your primary mission as peacekeeper. It must ostracize any nation that supports terrorism. It must isolate any nation that remains neutral in the fight against terrorism."
Mr. Giuliani was speaking before the opening of a weeklong special session to discuss terrorism and strategies to deal with it.
The U.N. Security Council on Friday adopted a binding resolution obliging all member states to cut off financial and political support for terrorist groups or face economic sanctions.
The Taliban, presumed protector of terror suspect Osama bin Laden, has not been recognized by the United Nations as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
Several of the nearly two dozen representatives of member nations who spoke yesterday expressed support for a new omnibus convention against terrorism, seeking to combine elements of the dozen existing anti-terrorism agreements.
Only one of those has entered into force.
Mr. Giuliani, however, urged the organization to do more, and do it faster.
"You must isolate any nation that remains neutral in the fight against terrorism," said Mr. Giuliani. "This is no time for further study and vague directives."
The mayor received a sympathetic hearing and sustained applause from representatives of many of the 189 nations in the assembly. The diplomats also showed support for New York's police and fire commissioners, who were watching from the gallery.
"He was very well received, of course," said Bulgarian Ambassador Stefan Tafrov. "He has kept the city together, and his remarks were, of course, absolutely right." Mr. Tafrov said that as the mayor left the chambers, diplomats were lined up to offer congratulations and support.
Mr. Giuliani, in his 20-minute speech, drew parallels between the city of New York and the United Nations, noting that both were truly international.
"Each of your nations, I'm certain, has contributed citizens to the country or the city," he said. "I believe I can take every one of you someplace in New York City where you will find someone from your country, someone from your village or town, that speaks your language and practices your religion."
South Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo, who is president of the General Assembly, had invited Mr. Giuliani to address the session.
In welcoming the mayor to the assembly, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan alluded to the stormy history between the organization and its host city.
"The attack has wounded the entire world," he said. "But shared adversity has brought New York City and United Nations closer together than ever before."
Yesterday was also the debut appearance at the General Assembly of U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte. The recently confirmed diplomat said the war on terrorism was focused not on a region or religion but "men suicidally intoxicated with a vision of the void."
"We cannot let them act together; we cannot let them act alone; we cannot let them act at all," he said.
Mr. Negroponte tried to allay suspicions in the Middle East and Central Asia that Washington's war on terrorism was targeting Islam or Arabs.
"We helped defend Muslims in Kuwait. We helped defend Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. We remain the largest single provider of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan," he said yesterday.
"There are over 1,200 mosques and 2 million Muslims in the United States, and their faith is a gift we revere and cherish."
The U.S. ambassador and New York mayor voiced similar views but in different tones.
"Both were what one would expect," said Nasser Kidwa, the Palestinian observer at the United Nations.
Mr. Annan urged all nations to ratify the 12 existing anti-terrorism conventions and to make headway on the 13th, an omnibus agreement meant to combine the most important elements of the others.
He also warned that, as harrowing as the Sept. 11 attacks were, they could have been even worse if weapons of mass destruction had been used. "The greatest immediate danger arises from a non-state group or even individual acquiring and using a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon," he said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide