UNITED NATIONS (AP) New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, in an impassioned speech to the United Nations yesterday, said there was no room for “neutrality” in the global fight against terrorism and no need for more studies or vague directives.
He said the world body should ostracize nations that support terrorism and isolate nations that remain neutral.
“Recognize,” Giuliani said, “that there is no room for neutrality on the issue of terrorism. You”re either with civilization or you”re with terrorism.”
“The evidence of terrorism, brutality and inhumanity is lying beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center less than two miles from where we meet today,” Giuliani told assembled diplomats from more that 150 countries.
The mayor, whose popularity with New Yorkers has soared for his handling of the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, won warm applause and broad support from the world body. The weeklong General Assembly meeting is the first global forum to focus on terrorism since the attacks.
Nations that doubt terrorism is “wrong and evil,” Giuliani said, should join him at the funerals of victims and try to explain that position to thousands of children who will grow up without parents.
“Instead, I ask each of you to allow me to say at those funerals that your nations stand with America in making a solemn promise and pledge that we will achieve unconditional victory over terrorism and terrorists,” Giuliani said.
Even Iraq, which is on the U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism, supported the mayor.
“There is no neutrality. We are all against terrorism,” said Iraq”s U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri.
The Palestinian U.N. observer said the mayor”s tough words might have drawn a negative reaction were he not speaking against the backdrop of the devastation in lower Manhattan.
“No state would hesitate in expressing a clear-cut position against international terrorism, and in favor of the fight. The sympathy was clear,” said Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian representative.
Normally slow to act, the General Assembly and the Security Council immediately condemned the attacks, and the council moved rapidly to adopt a U.S.-sponsored resolution on Friday which requires all 189 U.N.-member nations to deny money, support and sanctuary to terrorists.
Under the resolution, all countries must make the “willful” financing of terrorism a criminal offense, immediately freeze terrorist-related funds, deny terrorists “safe haven,” and speed the exchange of information, especially on terrorist acts and movements.
New U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, in his first U.N. speech, called for swift implementation of the resolution.
He also reissued U.S. charges that Osama bin Laden”s al-Qaida group was behind the suicide hijackings that hit the Trade Center and the Pentagon. More than 6,000 people from 80 countries died in the attacks.
“We cannot let them act together, we cannot let them act alone, we cannot let them act at all,” he said. “Freedom the first value of the new millennium is worth the price of vigilance and more.”
Giuliani said he believes the increase in terrorism and terrorist groups over the past 15 years is a response to the spread of freedom and democracy to many nations.
“Our freedom threatens them, because they know that if our ideas of freedom gain a foothold among their people it will destroy their power. So they strike out against us to keep those ideas from reaching their people.”
Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned the world body against letting slip the unity forged among members after the attacks.