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Kofi Annan last UN General Assembly address.

Posted by QB on September 19, 2006

Annan, whose second five-year term ends on Dec. 31, said the past decade had seen progress in development, security and the rule of law — the three great challenges he said humanity faced in his first address to the General Assembly in 1997.

But the secretary-general said too many people are still exposed to brutal conflict, and the fear of terrorism has increased a clash of civilizations and religions. Terrorism is being used as a pretext to limit or abolish human rights, and globalization risks driving richer and poorer peoples apart, he said.

“The events of the last 10 years have not resolved, but sharpened, the three great challenges I spoke of — an unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law,” Annan said. “As a result, we face a world whose divisions threaten the very notion of an international community, upon which this institution stands.”

“I remain convinced that the only answer to this divided world must be a truly United Nations,” he said.

In his annual report, Annan touched on some of the most difficult issues confronting the leaders from countries large and small assembled in front of him.

He said the Arab-Israeli conflict is the most potent and emotionally charged conflict in the world today.

“As long as the Palestinians live under occupation, exposed to daily frustration and humiliation, and as long as Israelis are blown up in buses or in dance halls, so long will passions everywhere be inflamed,” Annan said.

The secretary-general warned that as long as the U.N. Security Council is unable to end the conflict and Israel’s 40-year occupation by bringing both sides to accept and implement its resolutions “so long will respect for the United Nations continue to decline.”

“So long, too, will our impartiality be questioned,” he said. “So long will our best efforts to resolve other conflicts be resisted, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose peoples need our help just as badly, and are entitled to it,” he said.

Annan also decried the continuing conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region, “where the continued spectacle of men, women and children driven from their homes by murder, rape and the burning of their villages makes a mockery of our claim, as an international community, to shield people from the worst abuses.”

As he neared the end of his speech, Annan’s voice rose with emotion, describing his “difficult and challenging but at times also thrillingly rewarding” job.

“Together we have pushed some big rocks to the top of the mountain, even if others have slipped from our grasp and rolled back. But this mountain with its bracing winds and global views is the best place on earth to be,” Annan said.

He said he would “miss the mountain” and “when all is said and done, the world’s most exalting job.”

“I yield my place to others with an obstinate feeling — a real obstinate feeling — of hope for our common future,” Annan said, again visibly moved.

The presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, ambassadors and other diplomats in the chamber then burst into loud applause and rose to give Annan a sustained standing ovation.


One Response to “Kofi Annan last UN General Assembly address.”

  1. arab human development report

    Interesting post. I came across this blog by accident, but it was a good accident. I have now bookmarked your blog for future use. Best wishes. Wael Kfoury.

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