29/06/2001
Press Release
GA/9889



Resumed Fifty-fifth General Assembly

Plenary

105th Meeting (AM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS SECURITY COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION TO APPOINT


KOFI ANNAN TO FURTHER TERM AS SECRETARY-GENERAL


Decision Taken by Acclamation; Delegates Laud Performance

During First Term, Express Optimism for Continued Service


The General Assembly this morning appointed Secretary-General Kofi Annan to a second term of office, beginning on 1 January 2002 and ending on 31 December 2006.


Making the appointment as it adopted resolution A/55/L.87 by acclamation, the Assembly expressed its appreciation for Mr. Annan's effective and dedicated service to the United Nations during his first term of office.


The Assembly was acting on a recommendation by the Security Council contained in its resolution 1358 (2001).


Introducing this morning's Assembly resolution, Security Council President Anwarul Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh) recalled Mr. Annan’s 30 years of dedication to the United Nations, saying there was no doubt that he would continue to meet and exceed expectations in carrying out his duties in the most impeccable, impartial and independent way.


He said that Mr. Annan's reforms during his first term as Secretary-General had prepared the Organization to face the challenges of the twenty-first century.  He had made the United Nations more relevant in today’s world, broadening its support base, by developing partnerships with civil society and the private sector, in particular.


Mr. Annan's strong support for international development goals, particularly for Africa and the least developed countries, had had a positive impact on the lives of people all over the world, he said.  From one conflict situation to another, he had made a difference by advocating reason and hope, promoting the culture of peace and non-violence, often in the midst of hostilities and despair.  Member States had no doubt that he would only increase and intensify his efforts to serve the cause of the United Nations during his second term.


The President of the Assembly, Harri Holkeri (Finland), congratulated the Secretary-General on his reappointment, saying that the United Nations membership had demonstrated its strong support and trust for his second term by taking such a timely decision on the matter.  The decision was a clear testimony of Member


States to their continued support for his ideas and actions.  (For text of statement, see Press Release GA/SM/266.)


Following his reappointment, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he had laboured under a sense of obligation to Member States and to all the peoples of the world, in particular his fellow-Africans, who had been honoured in his person today.  But at the same time, he added, he was sustained by profound gratitude for the confidence that had been placed in him and for the encouragement and support from so many quarters. 


He said that wherever he had travelled during the past four years, and whatever issues he had tackled, he had been inspired by the sacrifices that the United Nations staff made every day on behalf of the people the Organization served.  In peacekeeping operations, in refugee camps and in countless other missions of mercy and of hope, their dedication in serving humankind had been constant and unswerving.  “Whatever I have achieved, I owe to their commitment and support, both in the field and at Headquarters”, he added.


Mr. Annan said he had sought to equip the Organization to adjust to change, rise to new challenges and serve its Member States and their peoples more effectively, while remaining true to the principles of the United Nations Charter. 


The Secretary-General said he had sought to speak out in defence of those who could not speak for themselves and to make universal human rights the touchstone of his work.  Just this week, the United Nations had taken the measure of one particular challenge: the global scourge of HIV/AIDS, which he had made a personal priority.


Renewing his oath of office, Mr. Annan expressed the hope that five years from now, the peoples of the world would feel that the United Nations was closer to them, working better to fulfil their needs and putting their individual welfare at the centre of everything it did.  (For text of statement, see Press Release SG/SM/7873.)


Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Nigeria (on behalf of the African States), Oman (Asian States), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Eastern European States), El Salvador (Latin American and Caribbean States), Spain (Western European and Other States), Saudi Arabia (Arab States) and the United States, as host country.


Background


The General Assembly met this morning to take action on a draft resolution on the appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


The Assembly had before it a letter from the President of the Security Council (document A/55/999) containing the Council's recommendation that Mr. Kofi Annan be appointed to a second term of office from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2006.


Consideration of Draft


The President of the Security Council, ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), introduced draft resolution A/55/L.87 by which the Assembly –- having considered the recommendations of the Security Council in its resolution 1358 (2001) -- would appoint Kofi Annan for a second term of office beginning on 1 January 2002 and ending on 31 December 2006.  The draft would express appreciation for the “effective and dedicated service” of Mr. Annan to the United Nations during his first term.


Mr. Chowdhury said there was no doubt Mr. Annan would continue to meet and exceed all expectations and carry out his duties in the most impeccable, impartial and independent way.  His reforms of the United Nations during his current term as Secretary-General had prepared the organization to face the challenges of the twenty-first century.  He had made the United Nations more relevant in today’s world, broadening its support base by developing partnerships with civil society and the private sector, in particular.


Mr. Annan’s vision in making real the commitments of the Charter had been reflected in the success of the Millennium Summit.  His strong support to international development goals, particularly for Africa and the Least Developed Countries had positively impacted on the lives of people all over the world.  From one conflict situation to another he had made a difference by advocating reason and hope, promoting the culture of peace and non-violence, often in the midst of hostilities and despair.  The Assembly adopted the draft resolution by acclamation.


Statement by Secretary-General


Secretary-General Annan said he was honoured at having been elected for a second term.  He recalled the statement of Dag Hammarskjold on his appointment to a second term in 1957 that no one could accept the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations knowing what that meant, “without a sense of duty”. 

Mr. Hammarskjold had added that no one could serve in that capacity “without a sense of gratitude for a task as deeply rewarding as it was exacting; as perennially inspiring as, sometimes, it may seem discouraging".


The Secretary-General said that he had labored under the sense of obligation to Member States and to all the peoples of the world they represented and in particular, his fellow Africans, who had been honoured in his person today.  At the same time, he was sustained by a profound feeling of gratitude for the confidence that had been placed in him and for the encouragement and support he had received from so many quarters. 

He said he was well aware that he could not have won such confidence or earned that support on his own.  Wherever he had travelled during the past four years, and whatever issues he had tackled, he had been inspired by the sacrifices that the staff of the United Nations made every day on behalf of the people the Organization served.  In peacekeeping operations, in refugee camps and in countless other missions of mercy and of hope, the dedication of the staff to the service of humankind had been constant and unswerving.  “Whatever I have achieved,” he added, “I owe to their commitment and support, both in the field and at Headquarters.”


He said it had been his privilege to serve as Secretary-General at a time of sweeping change and great challenges.  He had sought to equip the indispensable United Nations so that it could adjust to change, rise to new challenges and serve its Member States and their peoples more effectively, while remaining true to the principles of the Charter.  He had sought to speak out in defence of those who could not speak for themselves:  for the right of the poorest to development, and for the right of the weakest and most vulnerable to protection.  He had sought to make all aspects of universal human rights the touchstone of his work because he believed that they belonged to every faith, every culture, and every people.


Just this week, the United Nations had taken the measure of one particular challenge:  the global scourge of HIV/AIDS.  He had made that issue a personal priority and he was now convinced that the battle could be won.  At last, the international community had an agreed, comprehensive strategy to confront the disease and now it was time to put that plan into action.  He added that there were many other challenges ahead and the Millennium Declaration adopted last September had contained the marching orders for Members States, the wider international community and himself.  At the start of the next General Assembly, he would put before Member States a programme for carrying out those orders over the next five years.


The Secretary-General then renewed his oath of office and added that he hoped that five years from now, the peoples of the world whom the United Nations had been founded to serve would feel that the Organization was closer to them, working better to fulfil their needs and putting their individual welfare at the centre of everything it did.


Statement by Assembly President


The President of the General Assembly HARRI HOLKERI (Finland) congratulated the Secretary-General on his reappointment, saying the decision was a clear testimony of Member States to the continued support for his ideas and actions.


Last September, at the Millennium Summit, Member States had committed themselves to ambitious principles and targets, such as cutting poverty in half by 2015.  In order to reach those goals, the Organization needed leadership of wisdom.  The Secretary-General’s continued commitment to an effectively functioning United Nations, with a new management culture, would be one the keys to success. 


He said the United Nations must do more to become relevant to the wider global community.  In that regard, the Membership had also noted the Secretary-General’s initiatives, particularly by building partnerships with other actors at national and international levels.


Statements by Regional Groups


ARTHUR C.I. MBANEFO (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African States, said nobody could speak about Mr. Annan without mentioning the innovative ideas he had brought to the United Nations.  They included the Millennium Summit; the Global Compact; the Brahimi Panel on United Nations Peace Operations; the Global AIDS and Health Fund; and the establishment of the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals to prosecute impunity and crimes against humanity.


He said the world looked to the Secretary-General with renewed hope that, calling on his most unique qualities, he would excel in tackling the difficult and complex issues facing the world.  The United Nations was what Member States wanted it to be, and it was of cardinal importance that they continue to provide the Secretary-General with their fullest support and commensurate resources to enable the Organization to play the role envisaged for it in world affairs.


FUAD MUBARAK AL-HINAI (Oman), speaking on behalf of the Asian States, said that the Secretary-General would bring to his second term a wealth of experience in dealing with multilateral issues.  He said Mr. Annan had never shied away from taking bold decisions in times of crisis when he felt that his intervention would help defuse tensions, as had been witnessed when he undertook diplomatic missions to different regions of the world.


The Secretary-General’s vision for the twenty-first century, as reflected in his report “We the Peoples”, formed the basis for the Millennium Declaration.  It was a timely guide for efforts to reinvigorate the role of the United Nations and its affiliated agencies, and to cope with the requirements of the new century aimed at meeting the needs of nations and the aspirations of their peoples.


HUSEIN ZIVALJ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), speaking on behalf of the Eastern European States, extended warm congratulations to Mr. Annan on his re-appointment.  He expressed deep appreciation for all that the Secretary-General had accomplished during his first term.  Mr. Annan had achieved success in the face of many international challenges, particularly the rapid spread of globalization.  His work had done much to ensure international peace and security, sustainable development and to promote human rights.  He truly deserved high marks from the international community.  His convening of the Millennium Summit had also been a great achievement, most particularly as that historic gathering of world leaders had laid the road map for critical and important actions and initiatives of the global community now and into the future.


JOSÉ ROBERTO ANDINO SALAZAR (El Salvador) for the group of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the job of Secretary-General would, as in the past, unfold over time in a world characterized by differences, with the free determination of the peoples' wills testing the will of the United Nations, as well as the imagination and creativity of its leader.  During his first term,

Mr. Annan had delivered an intense performance in restoring the Organization's prestige.  Particularly deserving of recognition were his efforts to reform the United Nations and to improve its peacekeeping capacity.

He expressed the hope that the Secretary-General would continue to implement new and creative initiatives of a truly democratic character in the genuine interest of the people, particularly the poorest on the planet.  The Latin American and Caribbean Group recognized that it was not easy to create rapid and substantive solutions to global problems, especially those involving the security and strategic interests of States.  States would continue to be the central actors, and they should demonstrate the will to support the Secretary-General in carrying out his new five-year mandate.


INACIO ARIAS (Spain), on behalf of the Western European and Other States, praised Mr. Annan’s courage and determination in defending the primacy of human rights and in stressing that no alibi could shelter the violation of those rights; his tact in dealing with real Powers affecting the stability of the United Nations; and his excellent public relations, a vital skill in the twenty-first century.


If Mr. Annan did not exist, he said, somebody would have to invent him.


FAWZI BIN ABDUL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia), on behalf of the Arab States, said his delegation had recognized the efforts of the Secretary-General to establish a just peace in the Middle East.  While further recognizing the grave tasks entrusted to him by the international community, the Secretary-General’s overall record in efforts to realize the hopes of the all the peoples of the world had assured the membership that its confidence had been placed in the right person.  He sincerely wished the Secretary-General the best as he continued to work toward the establishment of international peace, security and stability.  The Arab States would work with the Secretary-General to achieve his own hopes and aspirations as well as those of the Organization.

JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States), speaking for the host country, described the Secretary-General as a global citizen and the personification of the international community.  He was the face of compassion, the embodiment of peace and justice as well as the leader of efforts to reform the United Nations and prepare it for the twenty-first century.  In his many years of service, Mr. Annan had been a witness to some of the world’s greatest triumphs and to some of its worst tragedies.  He had met each success with humility and each setback with characteristic introspection.

He said Mr. Annan’s reappointment was especially timely coming so soon after the General Assembly’s special session on HIV/AIDS.  In the war against the epidemic he had shown courage and dedication in marshalling an unprecedented joint effort by governments and the private sector.  The United States was grateful for the Secretary-General’s leadership and pledged its full support as he led the indispensable Organization into the twenty-first century.


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