UNITED NATIONS, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Security Council on Monday condemned "in the strongest terms" the mass shooting in Orlando, which it said targeted "persons as a result of their sexual orientation."
"The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed," said French Ambassador Francois Delattre, Security Council president for June.
Authorities said 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded, including a police officer, early Sunday in a mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida. That did not include the gunman, who was killed in the shootout with the police.
It was the deadliest terror attack in U.S. history since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.
President Barack Obama said Monday it appeared that Mateen was motivated by extremist propaganda online as no evidence was found about his direct link with radical groups.
Earlier on Monday, General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft expressed his "anger, outrage and deep sorrow" for the victims killed in the mass shooting, said a statement issued by his spokesperson.
Calling the attack "a misguided and despicable act of barbarism," Lykketoft called on governments to commit to supporting even stronger global, national and local efforts to prevent the spread of hatred and violent extremism.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote to the governor of the U.S. state of Florida and the mayor of Orlando to convey his deepest condolences for the loss of lives and injuries in Sunday's shooting in Orlando that targeted the LGBT community, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told a daily briefing.
In the letter, Ban said that "such violence is despicable, and contrary to the values of equality, peace and mutual respect that underpin the United Nations," said Dujarric.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein also condemned "with the greatest possible force" the attacks by violent extremists on innocent people because of their presumed beliefs, opinions, or sexual orientation, Dujarric told reporters.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said the intention of those who carry out such attacks is to scare and divide people, according to the spokesperson.
He also underscored the need to be strong in standing up "out own values" and for every human being's equal worth.