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March 10, 2005
With participation of His Majesty the king and the secretary general of the United Nations
The President of the Club of Madrid, Fernando Enrique Cardoso, opened the session with a lively introduction which gave way to words from His Majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain. The Monarch in a brief and emotional speech, expressed the strength of the Spanish people in the wake of the painful memory that hovers over the city of Madrid, just one year after the tragedy which occurred at the Atocha train station. Afterwards, King Juan Carlos I passed the microphone to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
The highest ranking official of the United Nations commenced his speech expressing the greatest concern for what is considered to be one of the bigest threats facing the world today: terrorism. Specifically, Annan wanted to report on the challenges and global strategies for combating the problem that has struck in places as different as Dar-es-Salam, Nairobi, Tel Aviv, Bali, Istambul, Casablanca, Bagdad, Bombay, Bethlehem, New York, or Madrid. The official of the UN designated a series of prescriptions which he referred to as the “five Ds” for fighting terrorism: dissuade, make difficult, desist, develop, and defend the weak.
In the strategic plan, these prescriptions are made up of a mixture of threats as well as promises of support for the countries which are vulnerable to conflict. They are intended to serve as a complimentary solution to the more direct one offered by the Bush administration. Annan reminded the audience, “Just as the President Bush himself said recently, the idea is to spread Democratic ideal throughout the world.”
Given special emphasis by Annan was the danger of nuclear terrorism. He also mentioned uncontrolled traffic of nuclear material to countries in conflict. Annan urged the United Nations to conform without delay to the international treaty for repression of acts of nuclear terrorism. Continuing the line of fire, Annan gave a cold warning to “countries who support terrorism.”
After specifying these two aspects, Annan returned to the plan of cooperation and support. He demanded from the United Nations a greater commitment to underdeveloped countries and especially to those lacking the means to prevent the outbreak of terrorism in their midst. He also referred to UNESCO as an appropriate medium for bringing education and equality to the third world, like this avoiding fanaticism and extreme measures. Changing the subject, Annan cited the danger of bioterrorism and expressed grave concern; because “without a healthy global system this can provoke great destruction in poor regions.” “Very soon in the world there will be dozens of laboratories capable of synthesizing infectuous agents with unsuspected lethal possibilities.”
Finally, Annan underlined the importance of respect of human rights as a preventive measure against terrorism. “The preservation of human rights is not only compatible with an effective strategy in the fight against terrorism, but rather is in itself, an essential element of the strategy.” said the secretary general of the United Nations. Annan gave his approval “to the creation of special spokesperson to inform the commission of Human Rights about the compatibility of any measures taken in the name of the fight against terrorism with the international instruments of human rights.” This last point puts the United Nations in confrontation with the contraversial American “Patriot Act”. The validity of this act and some of its polemic aspects is coming under question in the United States as well. In the March 9th session of the Summit, the ex xecretary of state, Madeleine Albright, criticized many facets of this anti-terrorist act which was adopted after September 11th.
Complete audio of the conference
- His Majesty Juan Carlos I, king of Spain
- Audio Archive (Spanish) [10 min., 2 MB, MP3]
(Translated from the original)
Address by His Majesty, King Juan Carlos of Spain, at the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security
I should like, with these words, to welcome to Spain all the Heads of State and Government, and all those who have held positions of such high authority, as well as all those attending this Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security.
I should also like to send a special greeting to all the Heads and High Ranking Officials of International Organisations and Bodies, as well as politicians, academics and experts from so many different countries, who have seen it fit to participate in this meeting, enriching with their presence the debates that will take place and the work that will be carried out.
I also wish to thank the Club of Madrid, as the organising body, as well as the local, regional and national governmental authorities, whose collaboration has been crucial to the celebration of this event, for their invitation to say a few words to open this Plenary Session.
It is my sincere hope and desire that the debates in which all the participants will engage, which will focus on ever growing problems and threats to our society, will prove useful and beneficial to all.
In the autumn of 2001, I had the honour of closing the Conference on Transition and Democratic Consolidation, which was also organised by the Club of Madrid. That was a Conference marked by the shock of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11th, which was still recent in everyone’s mind, and the subsequent need for all democracies to intensify their efforts and the level of cooperation in order to put an end to terrorism, for which, cruel, abhorrent, totalitarian and senseless as it is, there can never be any justification whatsoever.
Today, on the eve of the first anniversary of the abominable terrorist attacks in Madrid, carried out on March 11th last year, as we gather to talk about terrorism, about the death and suffering it causes, about the ravages and threats it always represents, it must lead us all, sharing as we do the same passion for life, human rights and democracy, to reiterate our most emphatic condemnation of terrorist violence, and endeavour, with even greater unity and determination, to put an end to this scourge. It is a priority we simply cannot afford to elude.
I interpret the celebration of this Summit in the capital of our country as a show of solidarity in the face of all the pain and in view of the sad memory of March 11th; as a show of solidarity towards the hundreds of families in Spain that have, for decades, sadly suffered the effects of terrorism.
Tomorrow will, indeed, be a year to the day since one hundred and ninety two children, women and men were brutally killed; a year to the day since hundreds more were injured, with varying degrees of gravity; a year to the day since thousands of families were forced to come face to face with an immense tragedy, which plunged Spain into the deepest depths of pain and mourning. The response from the Spanish people was twofold: a unanimous outcry of repulsion and indignation went hand in hand with a show of solidarity that was as admirable as it was spontaneous. It was the response bereft of the slightest tinge xenophobia, and fraught with serenity and generosity.
I should like, along with the Queen, to dedicate the most heartfelt homage, recognition and respect to all the victims, who were so brutally killed that day; to all those who were wounded, having so harshly suffered the ravages of something as cruel and senseless as terrorism; and to all their relatives, who deserve all our support, solidarity and sincere affection. We shall never forget their very deep suffering.
A heartfelt homage, and our deepest and most sincere feelings, go out towards each and every one of the victims of terrorism, and towards each and every one of their relatives. We cannot, and must not, forget any one of them. They are all, no one any less than the other, martyrs of freedom and democracy. As are their relatives, who have suffered so much as a result of the heartless and senseless loss of their loved ones.
Terrorism is a perverse phenomenon, inhuman and unjustifiable, fundamentally contrary to democracy and the pillars of democratic order. Free, democratic societies can neither bow nor make concessions to terrorism or the threats, blackmail and perverse demands it makes. To do so would be to greatly undermine the principles and values which constitute their very foundation as societies.
Hence the moral obligation of all democracies to fight, together, against terrorist violence, and against those who lend it any form of help, support or protection. It is a fight that must be pursued with the strength of our values and convictions, and which must make full use of all the tools provided by the Rule of Law. It must also be carried out via the reinforcement of international cooperation, bilaterally and multilaterally, through the relevant International Organisations, departing from the principles of such Organisations.
Unity, determination and cooperation are therefore essential and must go hand in hand in the fight that we must pursue as democratic societies for the supremacy of the ethical values on which pluralism, tolerance and the capacity to live together in peace inevitably hinge.
Unity, because divisions within a society only make it weaker in its fight against terrorism. Determination, because the terrorist threat affects our fundamental rights and freedoms. And cooperation, because we face a phenomenon that transcends borders and can so easily creep into other societies in an age in which globalisation is an indisputable fact.
Unity, determination, cooperation: concepts which find an easy way into our hearts given the indelible memory of all the victims of terrorism. Their deaths, their scars, their physical mutilation, the example of courage which they represent only serve to remind us every day of our great debt towards them - all of them - and their families. They deserve nothing less than our most sincere affection, support and solidarity, and it behoves us to see to their every need, and carefully protect their rights and sensibilities.
In conclusion, I should like to express the wish and desire that all the work coming out of this Summit will serve to reaffirm the commitment of all democracies to endeavour even more strongly to eliminate terrorism from the face of our planet. Express, as well, my wish and desire that all your work here will serve to send a very clear and unequivocal message to those who carry out, promote or support terrorism: that terrorist violence does not, and will never, have any place in our societies, firmly committed as we are to the defence of freedom.
Thank you very much.