The United Nations Security Council may take further action to fight international terrorism.
U.N. legal advisor Hans Corell briefed the council for two hours in a closed session, advising members about what action the council might take to fight terrorism.
After the briefing, Security Council President Jean Levitte spoke to reporters indicating that the council resolution condemning the terrorist attacks on the United States commits the council to consider further action. He said that commitment is contained in the final paragraph of the resolution. "This paragraph says that the council expresses its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001 and to combat all forms of terrorism in accordance with its responsibilities under the charter of the United Nations," he explained. "That is exactly what we are determined to do and that is what we will discuss next week."
Mr. Levitte refused to speculate on exactly what further action the council might take. France's Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine has suggested the council impose sanctions on nations that refuse to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.
There has also been talk about a resolution that might authorize some kind of U.S. military action against terrorism. But many diplomats say such a resolution is not necessary because the U.N. charter already grants the right of self-defense to member nations.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the United Nations is uniquely positioned to build a coalition against terrorism and ensure the coalition's global legitimacy. In an article published in several newspapers, Mr. Annan said it is essential that the unity expressed against terrorism not be fractured. Mr. Annan said there are enemies common to all societies but that enemies are never defined by religion or national descent.