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1/30/03 - POWELL ON TERRORISM - 2003-01-31

Shortly after the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution one-three-seven-three. It outlined the basic obligations of nations in the global war against terrorism.

Since then, as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell recently told the U-N Security Council, "the international community has made impressive progress" in that war. But, he said, "As murderous attacks in Bali, in Moscow, in Mombasa, and elsewhere have so tragically reminded us, the terrorist threat continues, and no country's citizens are safe. The challenge before us is to weave counterterrorism into the very fabric of our national and our international institutions."

On January 20th, the U-N Security Council adopted Resolution fourteen-fifty-six. It calls on nations to help each other investigate, prosecute, and punish terrorist acts wherever they occur. It also calls on nations to cooperate against al-Qaida and the Taleban, especially denying them access to financial resources. As Mr. Powell said, the new resolution "makes clear that this war has many fronts, from money laundering and the illicit drug trade, to arms trafficking and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We must fight terrorism on all of these fronts."

One critical front is Iraq. As Secretary of State Powell told the U-N Security Council, the world's civilized nations cannot shrink from the responsibility of compelling Iraq to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction. "Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists or states that support terrorists," Mr. Powell said, "would represent a mortal danger to us all. We cannot be shocked into impotence because we're afraid of the difficult choices that are ahead of us. We cannot shrink from the responsibilities of dealing with a regime that has gone about developing, acquiring, and stocking weapons of mass destruction, that has committed terrorist acts against its neighbors and against its own people, and trampled human rights of its own people and its neighbors."

No nation can afford to be complacent about the threat of terrorism or the effort it will take to defeat it. In the words of Secretary of State Powell, "We must rid the civilized world of this cancer. We must wage our campaign at every level, with every tool of statecraft, for as long as it takes."