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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2002 > September

Remarks to the Security Council of the United Nations

Secretary Colin L. Powell
New York, New York
September 11, 2002

SECRETARY POWELL:  Thank you very much, Mr. President and Mr. Secretary General, distinguished members of the Council.  Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this meeting of the United Nations Security Council. 

We gather on this solemn anniversary as representatives of our own countries and also as representatives of the international community.  Together, we honor the dead of 90 nations who were murdered on this day one year ago -- men and women of every continent, culture and creed -- of every region, race and religion. 

A full cycle of seasons has come and gone for the loved ones of the victims.  Their grief is still fresh. For them, the past twelve months have been a chronicle of absences, a calendar filled with daily reminders of loss.  Missing faces, missing voices, missing embraces.  Absences as poignant and palpable as the Twin Towers missing from the New York skyline.  On this day of remembrance, we extend to the family members all over the world our deepest condolences for their sorrow.  

Here in the United States, September 11th is seared deeply into our national consciousness.  The attacks on our soil drew us closer as a people.  They also drew us closer to people of kindness and goodwill across the globe.  We will never forget the outpouring of sympathy and solidarity we received from throughout the international community.  On behalf of President Bush, on behalf of the American people, I wish to express my country's abiding gratitude to all those who reached out to us at our time of national trial.

Amidst the fire and smoke, amidst the confusion and shock, some things became very clear to us in the United States and to the entire international community: 

It was clear that the terrorists did not just strike America; they attacked the values of the civilized world that are enshrined in the United Nations Charter. 

It was clear that terrorism is a threat to international peace and security. 

And it was clear that all the world's nations had to take concerted action if this menace is to be eradicated once and for all. 

And so, in defense of shared values and out of a sense of shared vulnerability, the world answered President Bush's call for a great global coalition against terrorism.  This Council, the General Assembly, and every single regional and subregional organization represented at this world body condemned the attacks.  Members of the United Nations made binding commitments to combat terrorism, and in the past 12 months much has been accomplished. 

Together, we have taken decisive steps to weaken terrorism's deadly grip on various parts of the globe, not least on Afghanistan.  Coalition forces led by the United States have liberated the Afghan people from the dual tyranny of al-Qaida terrorists and the Taliban. 

With the assistance of the international community, Afghanistan now has an interim governing authority and an agreed path to a representative government.  The world community is working with Afghanistan's new leadership to meet the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, including those needs of millions of returning refugees and the internally displaced.  With the contribution of donor nations across the globe, the international community is helping the Afghan people begin the enormous task of recovery and reconstruction.  

For the first time in over two decades, the men and women of Afghanistan look to the future with hope.

Elsewhere in the world, the international community is making it harder by the day for terrorists to support their operations, acquire weapons of mass destruction, move about freely, find sanctuary, 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.

Indeed, the acts we have taken to date against terrorism have shown the power of our collective will. 

From the beginning, all of us recognized that our fight has to be more than a response to the particular events of  September 11th.  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 our part, the people of the United States understand that:   long after the void in New York City's skyline has been filled by a fitting monument, long after it is possible to tell where the rebuilt the walls of the Pentagon meet the old, long after nature has mended the gash in that Pennsylvania field, our country must and will remain vigilant and resolute, not just for our own sakes, but for the well being of people everywhere. 

Terrorism is antithetical to the better world for which we have worked since the United Nations was founded.  We are all in this together. 

And so, on behalf of President Bush and the American people, I solemnly recommit the United States to our common fight to end terrorism.  We join all the members of the United Nations in the effort to build a world of peace, prosperity and freedom, where terrorism cannot thrive.

Thank you very much.



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