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Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the United Nations Secretary-General’s Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation
New York ~ Monday, September 19, 2011

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. President.   It is a privilege to join with you – and with so many distinguished leaders and partners – in the city where I was born and raised, to discuss the future that we all seek and, together, must build.

 

I am honored to bring greetings from President Obama, and from my colleagues across the Administration and the Department of Justice.   On their behalf, I especially want to thank the Secretary General for convening this symposium; for inviting me to join with Prime Minister Hasina, His Royal Highness Prince Al-Saud, Minister Jiménez, and Minister Natalegawa in opening today’s discussions; and for his outstanding leadership in advancing the goals, and honoring the values, that our nations share.  

 

In this time of uncommon challenges and evolving threats, our allegiance to these values – of liberty, privacy, opportunity, and justice – and the achievement of our collective security goals – have never been more important, or more urgent.   Nowhere is this truer than in our work to confront, to prevent, and to combat global terrorism and counter violent extremism in all of its forms.

 

Just last week – not far from where we gather this morning – citizens across, and far beyond, this nation marked the tenth anniversary of the most devastating terrorist attacks ever carried out against the United States.   As none of us will ever forget, on September 11th, 2001, nearly three thousand innocent people were murdered   – including citizens from 90 countries around the world.

 

On that fateful day, our nations stood together – bound by a common grief, as well as a collective resolve: to use every lawful tool and resource at our disposal – and to leverage the tremendous strength of our partnerships – to protect the citizens we are so privileged to serve; and to respond to national challenges with international action, with global solutions, and with a renewed commitment to collaboration.

 

Over the last decade, we have continued to stand – and, far too often, we have grieved – together.   In London and Lahore; in Madrid and Mumbai; and, most recently, at the UN headquarters in Abuja – we have seen the heartbreaking costs of terrorism.

 

And we have learned – in the most painful of ways – that our security interests are intertwined – and that our counter-terrorism efforts must be, as well.   Today, we know that our ability to ensure the safety of our people – and to seek justice on their behalf – depends on our willingness to work as partners, and to ensure that our different perspectives and approaches never distract us from our shared objectives, or become obstacles to fulfilling our collective responsibilities.

 

In this work, the United Nations has led the way – by developing an international legal and policy framework to foster collaboration and information sharing, to promote the rule of law, to protect civil liberties and – ultimately – to enhance our capacity to identify and combat terror threats.   Let me be very clear: The United States is firmly committed to the rule of law approach enshrined in this framework and to strengthening the capacity of civilian courts around the world, which have time and again shown their effectiveness at bringing terrorists to justice.

 

In strengthening this international framework – and in winning this fight – every country represented here has an essential role to play – as a partner; as a convener; and as a direct provider of assistance, intelligence, and expertise to all those who seek to prevent terrorism from occurring and, just as importantly, endeavor to eliminate its causes as well.

 

I am proud to be part of this effort – and of the contributions that my colleagues across the U.S. Department of Justice, and at every level of the U.S. government, are making on a daily basis.   From prosecutors and investigators, to policy experts and diplomatic leaders – many of our nation’s most talented law enforcement and counter-terrorism professionals now serve alongside their counterparts, in countries all around the world.

 

So, today, as we explore new and innovative ways to reinforce existing relationships, and to forge new ones – I am here to pledge the best efforts of the United States in supporting this mission, and in fulfilling our commitment to work every day – in common cause, and with this community of nations and the United Nations itself – to achieve security, opportunity, and justice for all.

 

We are proud to stand with you.   We are honored to count you all as partners.   And we look forward to all that we must – and will – accomplish together in the critical days ahead.  

 

Thank you.

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