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Russian FM: Elimination of Terrorism is of Paramount Importance - 2001-11-16

In a speech devoted entirely to the issue of terrorism, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has told the United Nations General Assembly that the elimination of terrorism is of paramount importance for the entire world.

Mr. Ivanov said international terrorism poses an unprecedented "challenge to mankind" and that all nations must unite in the fight against it. He said the fight must be comprehensive, employing military, political, economic, financial, and humanitarian measures.

He said there should be an increased emphasis on making sure that weapons of mass destruction do not fall into the hands of terrorists.

The Russian foreign minister proposed that governments that fail to take action against terrorists should be held accountable under international law.

However, speaking through an English interpreter, Mr. Ivanov also observed that terrorism does have root causes and those must be dealt with as well. "Terrorism is rooted in the gap between affluence and poverty both within states and in the international arena. The task, as never before, is thus now to ensure sustainable development throughout the world and to ensure that the social aspects of the globalization process are taken care of," he said.

Mr. Ivanov said the "moment of truth has come for each of us" and that the United Nations can play an important role in the battle against international terrorism.