Terrorism is not a new threat. The United Nations is becoming truly united in the face of this historic challenge, rising to a new level of cooperation against not only the groups and individuals who threaten our way of life but also the networks and powers behind them. The United States, the European Union, Russia and-very significantly--an impressive number of the Islamic States are turning from initial shock and condemnation towards constructive engagement in the expected long struggle against the evil of terrorism.
I emphasize the importance of the contribution of the Islamic world in this struggle, because that is exactly the point at which we can score our first victory against the sponsors and perpetrators of these attacks. They wanted to turn this into the "clash of civilizations", into the "holy war" between Islam and the rest of the world. A strong condemnation of their barbaric act from many predominantly Islamic countries demonstrates both the unity of the international community and its ability to isolate, punish and defeat terrorist groups and networks, regardless of their regional or religious backgrounds. It must not be a clash of civilizations, but a struggle--within each of our societies--between the forces of civil and uncivil, between those inspired and guided by a vision of betterment and those representing ideologies based on hatred.
Mankind is facing its first great challenge of the twenty-first. century, which has been labelled in media headlines as "the war against terrorism". But this is going to be entirely a new kind of war, because we face a new kind of enemy: this time it is not a single entity, not even a single State, but a network that functions in many countries and affects all countries, using advantages of globalization and modern technology. Over the last decade, gradually losing the sponsorship of States, international terrorism has developed a huge and well-concealed infrastructure of support.
The United Nations, as a global Organization, has a vital role to play in channelling the international outrage with terrorist attacks and resolve in combating terrorism into a sound, coordinated multifaceted strategy, which includes legal conventions, cooperation between States and their law enforcement agencies, sharing of information and intelligence, and developing and implementing mechanisms to suppress financial support to terrorist groups, etc.
While we all look for new long-term strategies, including, a new sense of urgency in adopting a comprehensive convention against terrorism, we need to remember that we have twelve existing United Nations conventions and protocols dealing with terrorism. The 11 September tragedy underscores the need to ratify and implement them. …