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Annan To Soon Offer UN Anti-Terrorism Strategy

Annan To Soon Offer Ideas For UN Anti-Terrorism Strategy

Responding to a recommendation by his High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change that the United Nations should work out a comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told a counter-terrorism meeting that he would soon put forward some ideas on the matter.

"I intend to enunciate a vision for such a strategy in the near future," Mr. Annan said in a <"">message delivered Saturday by Executive Director Javier Rupérez of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee's Executive Directorate to a four-day international counter-terrorism conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

All States must fulfil the binding anti-terrorism obligations already imposed by the UN Security Council and should together enact a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention, he said.

"Let every terrorist and terrorist group hear the same message from Governments and international organizations everywhere: We denounce your crimes. We will work together to fight you at every turn. And we will build a world of law and right in which terror has no appeal, and no place," Mr. Annan said.

Meanwhile, Governments must listen to the full range of opinions within the Islamic world and show that legitimate grievances can find peaceful solutions because eliminating terrorism calls for more than bringing individual terrorists to justice, he said.

"While all States have a duty to speak out, they also have a duty to hear the full range of voices within the Islamic world. Many of those voices tell us that we cannot hope to defeat terrorism only by freezing bank accounts, sharing intelligence, or bringing individual terrorists to justice," he added.

The voices say that the despair and anger among ordinary people, which terrorists so shamelessly exploit, must be urgently addressed. Basic human freedoms must be respected by those combating terrorism and people must see movement towards better and fairer societies, he said.

By meeting in Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam, "which has itself recently fallen victim to horrendous acts of terrorist violence, you send out a powerful message: terrorism is a threat to all civilized countries and anathema to all faiths," Mr. Annan said.

All States must make clear that no cause whatsoever justifies targeting civilians and non-combatants, a stance that is doubly important for Islamic countries, he said.

"Not only is it a necessary part of efforts to protect citizens from the kinds of atrocities we have seen here in Riyadh and many other parts of the Islamic world. It is also vital to rebut the distortion of Islam by a wicked few. Those who wrongly claim that Islam justifies the callous murder of the innocent give this rich and ancient faith a bad name," Mr. Annan said.

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