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United effort needed to combat terrorism
(China Daily) Updated:2005-07-25 09:51

  Evidence of a link between the fatal explosions in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday and those in London since July 7 is lacking.

  But the short interval between the incidents alerts us to a new upsurge in acts of terror, and reminds us of our collective vulnerability when terror attacks.

  We send our deepest condolences to those killed or wounded in the deadly attacks. We denounce the evil-doers, whoever they are, whatever excuse they have, in the harshest words our language offers.

  Terrorism is a heinous crime against humanity. Its extremely damaging potential lies in the fact that we never know when is the wrong time, or where is the wrong place to be.

  As with the carnage in Sharm el-Sheikh, it is not yet known what the intended target was. All we know is that the victims include not only Egyptians but also foreign nationals who happened to be there.

  Who, apart from the terrorists themselves, could have ever anticipated the popular destination for holidaymakers, venue for major international conventions and host of the historic Middle East peace talks five months ago, would become a killing ground in the small hours of an otherwise peaceful morning?

  The international nature of the casualty list is a fresh reminder that no country and its citizens can claim immunity from the threat of terror in our increasingly globalized world.

  Terrorists' repeated success in sowing fear and panic makes us appear helpless before those shooting from the dark.

  We will be helpless if we do not jointly act, or we attempt to confront the threat single-handedly.

  As long as terrorists can find havens in any corner of the world, the web of terror will keep regenerating after any setback. We have learnt this from the gains and losses of the world's anti-terror campaign after the September 11 attacks.

  But are we capable of weaving an all-inclusive safety net for collective defence? That is a question all countries and their leaders should ask themselves.

  The post September 11 war on terror has uncovered the conspicuous limits of individual countries' initiatives. A lack of consensus on defining terrorism, as well as countries' diverging agendas, for instance, has sometimes rendered strategies for combating terrorism ineffective.

  The United Nations may well be the sole body capable of managing a meaningful joint defence. A divided UN will be a lame duck. Unless all member countries unite, speak with one voice and act in concert, no promises of peace will bear fruit.

  When the UN was conceived, it carried humanity's aspirations for development in a peaceful environment. These dreams remain unchanged.

  Reform of the UN is necessary not because any specific nation should have a louder voice on the Security Council, but because it should be more efficient when facing today's challenges, among which is terrorism.

  It is hoped this session of the UN General Assembly will finally iron out disagreements on the definition of terrorism and pass a practical and comprehensive programme of action to deal with it.

  It will prove detrimental to all if its agenda of reforms continues to be hijacked by the private interests of any one country.

  

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