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Monday, 20 January, 2003, 20:03 GMT
UN targets global terrorism
Kofi Annan flanked by ministers Dominique de Villepin of France (R) and Tang Jiaxuan of China
Annan's speech summed up differences
A special meeting of the United Nations Security Council has adopted a declaration calling on member states to intensify their efforts against international terrorism.

The 14-point document - adopted unanimously - demands "urgent action to prevent and suppress all active and passive support to terrorism".

We must act with determination to address, indeed solve, the political disputes and long-standing conflicts which underlie, fuel and generate support for terrorism

Kofi Annan

Thirteen foreign ministers took part in the special meeting, held amid military preparations for a possible US-led war to disarm Iraq and a crisis over North Korea's nuclear programme.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell told the ministers they should not to be "shocked into impotence" because of the difficult choice on Iraq.

"However difficult the road ahead may be with respect to Iraq, we must not shrink from the need to travel down that road," he said.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said leaders of "rogue states" assisted terrorists - and the world had to stop "rogue states proliferation".

Annan's warning

""There is a serious and growing danger of terrorist access to and use of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials and therefore a need to strengthen controls on these materials," the declaration said.

Colin Powell
However difficult the road ahead may be with respect to Iraq, we must not shrink from the need to travel down that road

Colin Powell
US Secretary of State
It called on all states to co-operate closely to enforce UN sanctions against Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network and the former Taleban regime in Afghanistan.

British UN ambassador Jeremy Greenstock - who heads the UN's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) - said most nations had submitted reports on their efforts to prevent terrorism, but 13 countries had yet to do so.

Rights at risk

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told the meeting that human rights must not be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism.

Mr Annan said that increasingly the word "terrorism" was being used "to demonise political opponents, to throttle freedom of speech and the press, and to delegitimise legitimate political grievances".

He warned of "damage to the presumption of innocence, to precious human rights, to the rule of law and to the very fabric of democratic governance".

"Any sacrifice of freedom or the rule of law within states - or any generation of new disputes between states in the name of anti-terrorism - is to hand the terrorists a victory that no act of theirs could possibly bring," Mr Annan said.

Iraq worries

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer voiced concern about "unpredictable risks for the global fight against terrorism" resulting from any US-led military campaign against Iraq.

But the UK's Jack Straw said a point came when patience ran out and this was beginning to happen with Iraq.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Straw: Rogue states nurture terrorism
Next week, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix is due to present his first formal report to the Security Council on Iraqi disarmament.

Mr Powell told the gathering: "We must not shrink from our duties and our responsibilities when the material comes before us."

"We cannot fail to take the action that may be necessary because we are afraid of what others might do," he said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jannat Jalil
"Most members think it's too soon to take action against Iraq"

Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

17 Jan 03 | Americas
30 Aug 02 | Americas
03 Dec 02 | Africa
30 Aug 02 | Americas
07 Nov 01 | Business
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