- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2001

World body locked
The United Nations remained closed to the public last week as officials assessed the threat of terrorism to the highly visible headquarters on the East River.
Although U.N. officials routinely refuse to discuss security measures or credible threats, they cannot disguise the sand-filled dump trucks sealing off the half-mile of First Avenue and the easternmost blocks of 42nd Street closest to the complex.
New York City police, with uniformed reinforcements from as far away as Massachusetts, are guarding the remaining pedestrian entrances.
Bomb-sniffing dogs and expanded U.N. security are also evident. Vehicles are swept for bombs before they can park in the complex's underground garage.
Staffers say the disruptions unsettled them in the days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent evacuation of the 38-story U.N. building. But they're getting used to it.
"It's the new world we live in," said a U.N. official who has served in dangerous posts around the world. "If terrorists are looking for symbols, this is a big one."
On Friday, some 3,000 U.N. staffers, reporters, contractors and others with building access were evacuated in a well-publicized faux-emergency drill ordered by the newly created Senior Crisis Management Group.

N.Y., U.N. at peace
The relationship between the City of New York and the United Nations has often been rocky under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who at the depth of the Great Diplomatic Parking Ticket Scandal had suggested the international organization get out of Gotham.
But Hizzoner seems to be making nice now. Shortly after two hijacked planes destroyed the World Trade Center, he personally escorted Secretary-General Kofi Annan and several aides through the devastation of Ground Zero. Afterward, the two locked in a bear hug for the cameras.
Now, Mr. Giuliani is making his first formal visit to the United Nations today to address the General Assembly as it focuses on terrorism.
And the United Nations has been a good tenant to the host city.
With the Secretariat closed to visitors, U.N. tour guides and other international staff with some time to spare have pitched in to help city's relief effort, volunteering to interpret for residents in 38 languages.
One wonders if the mayor has also privately lobbied Mr. Annan to reschedule the canceled high-profile "debate" that opens the General Assembly every year. The annual event which draws scores of presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers was to have been held the week after the bombing but has not yet been rescheduled out of concerns for New York's exhausted police department.
But Mr. Giuliani has been a tireless booster for the city, urging residents and tourists alike to get out on the streets and show their pride by patronizing restaurants, hotels, Broadway and other Manhattan attractions that are operating far below capacity.
Maybe few people missed the general debate this year. But under the circumstances, perhaps the United Nations should undertake a little humanitarian assistance for its host city and reschedule the mother of all conventions.
The elected members will rotate in January.

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