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Annan - dialogue is key to healing wounds of 911

Accepting Fulbright Prize, Annan says dialogue is key to healing wounds of 11 September

3 December - Accepting the 2001 William J. Fulbright Prize for International Understanding at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that dialogue is central to overcoming the wounds of the 11 September terrorist attacks.

"That is the lesson in almost every part of the world, but nowhere more so today than in Afghanistan - a country devastated by decades of war, drought and political repression driven by ethnic and other differences," Mr. Annan told those attending the ceremony, which was held at the Library of Congress.

The Secretary-General said that only democratic governance could channel internal dissent peacefully "and thus help avert the kind of civil war that has taken such a heavy toll on the people of Afghanistan for the last quarter-century."

He stressed that the "appalling" terror attacks of 11 September must teach the world "that the answer to such violence and to sources of grievance which provide an excuse for such acts is more democracy, not less; more freedom, not less; more development aid, not less; more solidarity with the poor and dispossessed in our world, not less."

The Secretary-General had arrived in Washington on Sunday, when he attended the Kennedy Center Honors programme and paid tribute to one of those honoured - Luciano Pavarotti, who is a UN Messenger of Peace. Others honoured at the ceremony included Quincy Jones, Julie Andrews, Van Cliburn and Jack Nicholson.

In the margins of that event, Mr. Annan also spoke with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell about the weekend's tragic events in the Middle East, a UN spokesman said.

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