New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thanked the United Nations for its support in the year since the attack on the World Trade Center. From New York, the Mayor also pledged New York will remain open to people from all over world, regardless of belief or culture.
Assuring U.N. members in Spanish that "nuestra casa es su casa," - our house is your house - Mr. Bloomberg said New York is humbled by the outpouring of material and emotional support it received from the international community in its time of need.
Mr. Bloomberg reminded U.N. members that citizens from more than 90 countries died in the attack. And he said all U.N. members should join the battle against terrorism and fanatical groups because the September 11 attack violated the principles of the United Nations.
"As President Bush has said repeatedly, we will aggressively pursue terrorists wherever they seek refuge and terrorist states whenever they threaten our security. Your governments have an obligation to do the same," Mayor Bloomberg said.
Still, Mr. Bloomberg promised concerns about terrorism will not stop New York from welcoming immigrants and foreign visitors. And he told diplomats that New York is the perfect home for the United Nations because it is "the world city."
"Forty percent of our population was born outside of the United States. This is the international capital of commerce and also the international capital of humanitarian assistance and human rights defense. New York City is a city where more than 120 languages are spoken and every major religion is practiced, where the cuisine of every nation is relished, and the artistic expression of every culture displayed," he said.
An invitation to a local political leader to address the United Nations is unusual. Last year, Mr. Bloomberg's predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, whose relationship with the United Nations was often marked by confrontation, spoke to U.N. members after the terrorist attack. Mr. Bloomberg's administration has worked to improve relations with the global organization and he has promised the city will help the United Nations with its upcoming modernization project.