Annan: UN to Make Lives of Terrorists 'More Difficult' Than Ever

By Stewart Stogel | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

(United Nations) - U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan Wednesday said the 189 members of the organization are working to create a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention, one "intended to make the lives of terrorists ... more difficult" than ever. Such a convention would be the 13th in the history of the United Nations.

Observing the one-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Annan spoke from U.N. headquarters to a "town hall" meeting that included 10 U.S. cities hooked up by satellite.

He explained that the world body would play a role in combating terrorism.

"Immediately after the attacks, all 189 member states rallied in such a manner that we have not seen in this house before," Annan said. "I am hopeful that the member states, spurred on by the horror and the tragedy we all lived through on Sept. 11 will press ahead and endorse the convention."

The Secretary-General told the town meeting that the atmosphere among U.N. diplomats has changed since Sept. 11.

The new convention, according to Annan, will "provide a common legal framework for all 189 states to pursue the fight and struggle against terrorism."

Secretary of State Colin Powell also addressed the town hall meeting via a videotaped statement.

Powell told the attendees that to win the current war on terrorism, it will "take a sustained commitment on the part of the international community."

He explained that if terrorists and their hosts "have no resources, plus no refuge, it ultimately equals no escape."

Annan also took the occasion to address the refugee problem in Afghanistan.

He explained that some food deliveries had begun moving back into Afghanistan on Wednesday.

"We resumed them (food deliveries) again Wednesday and we are beginning to move in about 1,000 tons a day." That, said Annan, is only about half the amount delivered daily prior to the outbreak of hostilities.

The secretary-general added that as soon as the security situation begins to "stabilize," the United Nations and its humanitarian aid affiliates would be positioned to quickly move back into the country.

The town hall meeting was organized by AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman Ted Turner's Better World Fund. The fund was created to foster closer ties between the U.N. and the American public.