U.N. chief Ban hails bin Laden death as "watershed"

UNITED NATIONS Mon May 2, 2011 6:45pm EDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday hailed Osama bin Laden's death as a key turning point in the world's struggle against terrorism.

The 15-nation U.N. Security Council also issued a statement welcoming the news "that Osama bin Laden will never again be able to perpetrate such acts of terrorism."

Ban told reporters "the death of Osama bin Laden, announced by President (Barack) Obama last night, is a watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism."

U.S. officials said late on Sunday that bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. assault on his Pakistani compound on Monday, then quickly buried at sea.

"The crimes of al Qaeda touched most continents, bringing tragedy and loss of life to thousands of men, women and children," Ban said.

"This is a day to remember the victims and families of victims here in the United States and everywhere in the world," he added.

The written version of Ban's reaction included several remarks that were not included in the statement he made to reporters on camera. The additional comments made clear that Ban felt the U.S. targeting of bin Laden was just.

"Personally, I am very much relieved by the news that justice has been done to such a mastermind of international terrorism," Ban said in the emailed text of his statement.

"I would like to commend the work and the determined and principled commitment of many people in the world who have been struggling to eradicate international terrorism," he added.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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