U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, at a special memorial session of the U.N. Security Council, says there has been significant progress, since last September 11, in the war against terrorism. But he warned that the struggle ahead will be measured in years, not months.
Mr. Powell used the unusual 15-minute meeting of the Security Council to thank the world for the outpouring of support and sympathy for the victims of the September 11 attacks, and to re-commit the United States to work with U.N. member states in the fight against international terrorism.
Addressing the council, as he began a series of meetings with counterparts from around the world, the Secretary of State said the international community is making it harder, day-by-day, for terrorists to find sanctuary, acquire weapons of mass destruction, to communicate and plot.
"Thanks to our combined efforts, every day, somewhere in the world, terrorists are being arrested, their cells are being broken up, their financial bloodlines are being severed, their plans are being disrupted, and their attacks are being foiled," he said. "Indeed the actions we have taken to date against terrorism have shown the power of our collective will. But from the beginning, all of us recognize that our fight has to be more than a response to the particular events of September 11. It is about eliminating terrorism as a global menace. We must be prepared for a long hard effort, measured in years, not in months."
For his part, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the council international terrorism has made a target of the entire edifice of international cooperation to which the United Nations is dedicated. In an implicit criticism of unilateralism in the terrorism fight, he said action should be taken within the U.N. framework.
"The legitimacy that the United Nations conveys can insure that the greatest number of states are able and willing to take the necessary and difficult steps, diplomatic, legal and political, that are needed to defeat terrorism," said Kofi Annan. "Today, one year after the attacks, the importance of global legitimacy in the fight against terrorism has only grown. I call on the council to strive even harder to ensure that the struggle ahead wins the highest possible support. All humanity has stake in this fight. The United Nations must ensure that it is fought in unison and won in a legitimate way."
The Security Council observed a moment of silence for the September 11 victims and issued a statement describing the attacks a year ago as "an assault on global civilization."
In his remarks, Mr. Powell stressed the accomplishments of the past year of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, whom he said have liberated that country from the "dual tyranny" of al-Qaida terrorist and the Taleban, and put that the country on a an agreed path toward representative government.
Mr. Powell will join President Bush in his meetings with world leaders in New York Thursday and Friday and hold other consultations, including a meeting Friday of the so-called "6 plus 2" grouping, made up of the countries bordering Afghanistan as well as the United States and Russia.