United Nations, New York November 11, 2001
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Mr. President
Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

I wanted to come here and I had to come here.

I thought it was necessary to show that I will not allow those fanatic killers, who may be secretly lurking right now, to prevent me from presenting the general views of my country, the Republic of Croatia, about the current situation in the world in front of this distinguished audience in the United Nations.

This year, the general debate is taking place later than usual. The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington have postponed the scheduled autumn session. I emphasize the word "postponed".

The terrorists did not manage to paralyze the United States of America, they did not manage to stop the work of the United Nations, and neither will the world statesmen cancel their visit to New York and their participation in the work of the General Assembly.

Since September 11, when like in a nightmare we were faced with the horror of global terrorism, it has been repeatedly said by many people, including me, that the world is no longer the same. I am here today to repeat it, and also to add a few more words.

It is true, or at least it seems to be true, that the terrorist attacks, which left thousands of deaths behind, have changed everything.

However, the truth is "slightly" different: much has changed as a result of the attacks, but nothing has changed in the area which made it possible for the attacks to be committed. I would therefore like to stress the following: in order to make sure that the terror experienced by New York and Washington will not happen again, we, and I repeat, WE, have to change, the world completely.

Today we live with the threat of global terrorism and the global response to it. With regard to the nature of this first big war of the 2l st century, I can only repeat what I have recently mentioned in my speech in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. This is not a clash of civilizations, this is not a clash of cultures, this is not a conflict of religions. This is just a confrontation of civilization and non-civilization.

I would also like to be very clear about something else. There is no such a thin; as "our" or "their" terrorism, there is no justified or unjustified terrorism. It is in the nature of terrorism, regardless of whether it is masked by an ideology, religion or a liberation war, to kill innocent people - the more, the better. Terrorism is therefore absolutely unacceptable, and this is why we are fighting against it today.

We have created a broad anti-terrorist coalition, an alliance of countries not known in history, and which can only be compared to the anti-fascist coalition at the time of the Second World War.

This anti-terrorist coalition is practically an alliance of the civilized world, a defense response of that world to the challenge and threat of destruction and anarchy. I would like to stress two things with respect to the response and circumstances in which it is taking place.

Firstly, today we are not in dilemma of whether we are choosing between an anarchy on the one side, imposed to us by the terrorists, and autocracy on the other, in which someone could perhaps see the only efficient response to global terrorism. To accept this dilemma would be fatal for our civilization.

The response is and can only be democracy and the rule of law.

The defense of democracy must not turn into its very negation, even in the war conditions imposed to us by the terrorists.

And secondly, the establishment of the anti-terrorist coalition represents the beginning of deep and far-reaching changes on the world political scene. I am speaking about the changes in relations between countries or groups of countries, and the changes in the nature and way of functioning of international alliances, such as NATO for example, as well as international organizations, both the existing ones, such as the United Nations, and the ones which are just emerging, the International Criminal Court being one example.

However, while we are still combatting global terrorism using our military, political, and economic forces and intelligence organizations, we must start looking for answers to the following questions: what is global terrorism and what makes it possible. It is not enough to defeat the terrorists we are faced with today. We have to do everything we can to make sure that we shall not be dealing with new terrorists tomorrow.

This is the second level of changes necessary to be carried out, but they are still not happening. I view the situation as follows: it will not be difficult to encourage fanatic behavior not only in individuals, but also in large groups of people, thus turning them into ruthless killers - terrorists, as long as famine, poverty and non-development are present in large parts of the world, and as long as people suffer from inequality and absence of freedom as a result of unresolved regional crises anywhere in the world.

I therefore think that we have to change the world completely, if we do not want our present fight against global terrorism and our victory, which I have no doubts about, to be episodes only.

This might sound too ambitious, or even a bit utopistic, but I believe it is neither of the two.

I am sure that in addition to the fight against terrorism, there is another task ahead of us and it is neither less difficult nor less responsible - the task of creating and implementing a global strategy for solving accumulated problems of today's world, problems which did not appear yesterday.

Many of them have been discussed under this dome. Many nice and beautiful words have been said. It is now time to turn these words into actions.

It is now time for these actions to stop ugly, abominable words full of hatred and hostilities turning into new acts of madness such as the ones we saw in this city.

We have a common interest: life in peace and safety - for all!

Let us have a common goal, too: life worthy of man - for all!

Neither is possible already tomorrow in the whole world. But both are possible in the whole world.

I would like this session of the United Nations General Assembly to reaffirm this world organization as an irreplaceable instrument in the struggle for a different and better world.

I would like this session to show the political will of all the member countries to start together, in a sincere and coordinated way, looking for and finding solutions for problems which, in the context of the threat of global terrorism, prove to be literally unavoidable.

Let us not forget:

In September, the terrorists used planes full of passengers in order to kill thousands of people. Next time, they might use chemical or biological weapons, even nuclear perhaps, to kill hundreds of thousands of people.

Let us not forget:

this organization has been founded to "protect future generations from the horror of war".

There is no time to wait.

Let us change the world we live in order to be able to keep living!

Thank you