Concerned citizens across America had an unprecedented dialogue Thursday with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan about how the United Nations is responding to the crisis touched off Sept. 11.
The session was part of a nationally televised town hall meeting on the one-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington.
With broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite moderating the discussion, participants asked about such things as the U.N.'s position on the use of force, the steps it has taken to combat international terrorism and its role in helping those displaced by allied attacks in Afghanistan.
Cronkite introduced Annan as a diplomatic expert familiar with delicate political situations. Annan said the international coalition is providing humanitarian aid for several million refugees on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan and in Iran.
"Of course, because of the war, we are not able to move as many supplies as we'd hoped," Annan said in his address. "We had to suspend the food deliveries because of the military action, but we've resumed them again yesterday and we are beginning to move in about 1,000 tons a day. We need roughly 60,000 tons a month to feed the Afghan population, so we are planning to step up our delivery as soon as the situation permits."
In a taped speech, Secretary of State Colin Powell thanked the U.N. for mobilizing the international community and praised the immediate response from the Security Council and the General Assembly after of the attacks. He said the trailblazing resolution passed Sept. 28 that obligates the 189 members to deny financing and other forms of support to any terrorist groups will destroy the Taliban government.
"No resources plus no refuge ultimately equals no escape," Powell said. But he stressed tolerance for innocent victims.
"While the world condemns Osama bin Laden and his vicious network and the Taliban regime that harbors them, it has great compassion for the suffering people of Afghanistan," he said.
A half-hour session tied in participants from 10 cities, including Chicago. It was followed by a longer local session. The Chicago session was moderated by John Callaway, a broadcaster for 45 years and host of WTTW-Ch. 11's "Chicago Stories." It was held at the University of Chicago.Copyright © 2015, CT Now