Bush urges UN to take active role in fighting terrorismSeptember 23rd, 2008 - 10:58 pm ICT by IANS
New York, Sep 23 (IANS) Asserting that terrorism poses a challenge “as serious as any since the UN’s founding”, US President George W. Bush has urged the world body to take an active rule in fighting the menace. Addressing the UN General Assembly at the opening of its annual high-level debate here Tuesday morning, the US president restated the “Bush Doctrine” of fighting terrorists before they strike, and argued that “bringing the terrorists to justice does not create terrorism. It’s the best way to protect our people”.
While praising the UN, the G8 economic powers as well as other world groups for their efforts in fighting terrorism, Bush asked for further measures.
He warned against taking comfort in lack of a major terror attack in recent times and said: “We must not relent until our people are safe from this threat to our civilisation.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while opening the General Assembly’s annual session, focussed on different issues.
He urged world leaders to rise to the “challenge of global leadership” and work together to solve the world’s most pressing and intractable problems, from climate change and the energy crisis to entrenched poverty.
“Our challenges are increasingly those of collaboration rather than confrontation,” Ban declared in a wide-ranging speech before dozens of heads of state and government gathered at UN headquarters in New York.
“Nations can no longer protect their interests, or advance the well-being of their people, without the partnership of the rest,” Ban said.
But he warned there were signs that many leaders and countries were unwilling to take up the mantle of doing more, not less, to help those around the world who need support, despite the scale of some of the crises.
“I see a danger of nations looking more inward, rather than towards a shared future. I see a danger of retreating from the progress we have made, particularly in the realm of development and more equitably sharing the fruits of global growth.”
As new centres of power and leadership are emerging in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere in the newly developed world, “we are on the eve of a great transition”, he said.
On Thursday, world leaders will discuss how to accelerate progress towards the eight globally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - which aim to slash a host of social and economic ills - by their target date of 2015.
The UN secretary-general, who is holding bilateral discussions with many world leaders on the sidelines of the general debate this week, said that in the weeks ahead he will seek their support for a new human resources framework at the UN.
Echoing Ban, the President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel D’Escoto, called on the 192 member states to “choose the path of solidarity” to overturn what he described as a culture of selfishness that allowed millions of people worldwide to suffer in poverty or as a result of other man-made problems.
Speaking to the world leaders at the General Assembly session, he said that “a confluence of large-scale, interrelated crises” - including climate change, high food prices, natural disasters and the current global financial troubles - highlighted that it was time to change the way peoples and countries interacted with each other.
“If we are to seize the opportunities, we must move beyond lamentations, speech-making and statements of good intentions and take concrete action based on a firm resolve to replace the individualism and selfishness of the dominant culture with human solidarity as the golden rule that guides our behaviour,” he said.