The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Han Seung-soo of South Korea, says terrorism has now overshadowed every other global issue.
In a year-end meeting with reporters, Mr. Han recalled that on Tuesday September 11, the date of the terrorist attacks on the United States, the UN General Assembly was scheduled to begin its 56th annual session. But after the attacks, the UN headquarters was closed for the rest of the day as a precaution.
On Wednesday, the session did begin with the adoption of a tough anti-terror resolution its first order of business. A couple of weeks later, the assembly held a week-long debate on terrorism.
The so-called "general debate" that features speeches by world leaders was postponed from late September to mid-November. When it got underway, the issue of international terrorism was predominant. A General Assembly committee will continue work on a new comprehensive treaty on terrorism in January.
Mr. Han said as important as the terrorism issue is, the United Nations must not lose sight of other compelling global problems such as poverty, HIV-AIDS, and refugees. "Those are the sort of issues that we are confronted with in the United Nations, although they are overshadowed by the issue of international terrorism at the moment. But that should not mean that we ignore those other issues," he said. "Personally, I am greatly interesting in resolving those problems and we should help the poor countries of Southeast Asia, Africa and other areas."
Mr. Han said the high point of the year for him was receiving, on behalf of the United Nations, the Nobel Peace Prize. He said the world organization should accept the prize not as a reward for past achievements but as an inspiration to do more and better in the future.