Foreign Minister John Manley
Address to Foreign Ministers of the Organization of American States
Washington, D.C.
September 21, 2001

In the past ten days we have lived a dark moment in history that shall never be forgotten. Nations and individuals have striven to find the right words to express their outrage, their grief, and the full force of their resolve to combat the evil of terrorism.

I do not wish to use many words this morning; so much has already been said. Our sadness -- including for the many Canadians caught in the terrible attacks of September 11 -- is without bounds; our support, without question; and our solidarity, without end.

The terrorist acts of September 11 took place over U.S. skies and on U.S. land, but they were an attack against us all. Their victims came from all parts of the world, representing many ethnicities and many faiths. Moreover, these acts have violated the values and principles that all peace-loving nations -- all of the members of this hemispheric family -- hold dear.

It is critical now that the international community stand united against terrorism and its perpetrators. There can be no cracks in our defence -- no rifts to exploit, no vulnerabilities to embolden the terrorists.

This will require more than words; we must also act, and act together. And, in doing so, we must all be guided by the principles that have made our nations and our peoples strong -- democracy, diversity and a profound respect for the rule of law. Our actions shall never be dictated by fear or intimidation.

The response of both governments and individuals has been resounding. In Canada, our citizens have given blood; volunteered their time, money and services; and opened their towns and even their homes to the over 33 000 stranded, anxious passengers who came to Canada on the 224 international flights diverted to our territory in the immediate hours following the attacks of September 11.

On a political level, the groundswell of international solidarity over these ten days has indeed been impressive -- from the United Nations, to NATO and the G-8. The EU and we in the OAS [Organization of American States] today are holding extraordinary meetings. Countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have also -- some with much courage -- expressed support for the United States and for the international campaign to end terrorism.

In this room, no one needs to be reminded that terrorism is neither a new nor a geographically limited problem -- it has affected a number of OAS states, over many years. This painful history, however, offers us wisdom and a unique expertise. The OAS can make an important contribution to eliminating the scourge of terrorism.

This contribution may include: information exchange and mutual support as countries review their domestic anti-terrorism frameworks, recognizing that this may comprise a wide array of elements, from financial regulation to security measures; strengthening co-operation among our respective law enforcement and security agencies; making full use of OAS bodies -- such as the Committees on Terrorism and on Hemispheric Security -- to share our experiences and to consolidate political will in this fight. I would also urge all member states to promote our newly adopted Inter-American Democratic Charter as a badge of the values and principles that unite us.

Some of the key instruments of hemispheric co-operation have already been put into motion this week -- the application of the OAS Charter to call this meeting of foreign ministers, and the invoking of the Rio Treaty by its parties. While Canada is not a party to that treaty, we applaud your action and pledge our support and co-operation.

Common cause and concerted action. That is the meaning of solidarity. And that will be the foundation upon which the campaign to eliminate terrorism is built, and upon which this campaign will -- and must -- ultimately succeed.

Thank you.


©2001 Government of Canada.