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UN Commemorates September 11 Anniversary - 2002-09-11

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for unified action to combat terrorism, calling it a threat to everything the United Nations stands for. U.N. officials, diplomats and staff observed the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States at a solemn ceremony on the grounds of U.N. headquarters.

The Secretary-General described this September 11 as a day for remembrance, for respect, for those who perished in the attacks and those who rushed toward the carnage to try to save lives. He described it as a shared loss for the entire international community.

Citizens of more than 90 countries were killed in the World Trade Center attack.

The theme of multilateralism, a principle Mr. Annan constantly promotes, also ran through his remarks, as he called for a concerted international campaign against terrorism. "Everything that we believe in, respect for human life, justice, tolerance, pluralism and democracy, is threatened by it," he said. "It must be defeated, and it must be defeated by the world acting as one."

The theme was repeated by Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan, the president of the General Assembly, which opened its new session Tuesday. "In our fight, we must see terrorism for what it is, a global evil filled with hatred and extremism, an evil which threatens the common values and principles, as well as the diversity of the entire civilized world," said Jan Kavan. "We cannot let terrorism hide behind faith or culture."

U.N. staff members and delegates observed silence as bells tolled throughout New York City, reverberating on the grounds of U.N. headquarters, at the precise time the second tower crumbled one year ago.

Last September 11 was a frightening moment at the world organization, which is located just several kilometers north of the attack site.