ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN GERMANY, 11-13 JULY
Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Munich from Lusaka, Zambia, early in the morning of Wednesday, 11 July.
His official programme in Germany began on Thursday morning, when he met, at a police training centre, with former and future German CivPol participants in United Nations peacekeeping operations. "As one peacekeeper to another," he told the Bavarian police, "let me say 'danke schön'."
He then met with the Minister President of Bavaria, Edmund Stoiber, for about an hour. In remarks after that meeting he spoke of the fight against HIV/AIDS and the need to work in partnership against the disease. Mr. Stoiber then hosted a lunch for the Secretary-General and his wife Nane.
On Thursday afternoon, he flew to Berlin, where he met with Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. He arrived a few minutes early, to find the Foreign Minister talking to some 500 French and German graduate students. Mr. Fischer invited the Secretary-General up to the stage with him, to the delight of the students, who gave him a standing ovation. He addressed them briefly.
Later, the Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister met for about
45 minutes. They told the press afterwards that their talks had focused on the Middle East and the Balkans. On the Middle East, the Secretary-General said that Germany and the international community had a role to play. He went on, "The United States, the European Union and the United Nations, all of us have a role to play."
Later in the afternoon, the Secretary-General accompanied the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, and the President of the Parliament, Wolfgang Thierse, to view a segment of the Berlin Wall with a sculpture on it. The segment will come to the UN in October as part of an exhibit.
On Thursday evening, the Secretary-General met with Minister of Defence Rudolf Scharping before attending a dinner in his honour hosted by Foreign Minister Fischer at Schloss Charlottenburg.
On Friday morning, the Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan attended a breakfast in their honour hosted by German President Johannes Rau at his private residence in Berlin.
From there, they proceeded to the Freie Universitat, Berlin's largest university known internationally for its teaching and research, where the Secretary-General received an honorary doctorate. The University announced the
creation of the Kofi Annan International Fellowship Program designed to pay for up to 100 students per academic year.
In his address, the Secretary-General told the assembled students and guests that he wanted to speak about human rights, and in particular about racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.
"Intolerance is a many-headed monster," the Secretary-General said.
"Its victims are diverse, and include women, migrant workers, refugees, indigenous people, minorities and those whose political views are deemed objectionable for one reason or another," he said.
"Its manifestations are equally varied: we find prejudice in the workplace and sports arenas; in textbooks and mass media; in identity-based politics and the provision of government services."
He noted that Germany was "clearly engaged in a strenuous and impressive effort to respond to the challenges posed by its history, by reunification and by manifestations of intolerance."
The Secretary-General closed his statement by reading a few lines from a poem by a 14-year-old school girl from Berlin.
"They attack foreigners, punks, the disabled and Jews,
One day, soon, they will attack me and you.
That's why each of us must look deep inside,
At what our surface is trying to hide.
For if we do not know what's in here,
Can any of us walk the streets without fear?"
"The school girl challenges all of us, throughout the world, to act," he said. (See SG/SM/7889.)
The Secretary-General's next stop was the Federal Chancellery. He inspected an honour guard and heard the German national anthem being played before heading into a meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Later, at a press conference, the two leaders said they had discussed the
G-8 summit, the global fight against HIV/AIDS, the situation in the Middle East and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
Mr. Schroeder announced a 300 million DM contribution to the Global AIDS and Health Fund.
Both the Secretary-General and the Chancellor talked about the need to act on climate change and said Japan, as the host country of the Conference where the Protocol was adopted, had a special responsibility to press ahead with its implementation.
The Secretary-General also drew attention to the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, currently taking place in New York, saying that it was important that the Conference succeed.
"Do not be distracted by statements made by others that the UN wants to get weapons away from people who legally own them," he said. "One has a right to own a weapon maybe, but we also have a right to protect innocent peoples in our community."
A luncheon hosted by Mr. Schroeder and his wife on the top floor dining room of the new Chancellery overlooking Berlin's Tiergarten was followed by two meetings at the Hotel Adlon in the former East Berlin. The Secretary-General discussed the Middle East and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in a meeting with Hans-Ulrich Klose, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Federal Parliament and representatives of five political parties. A meeting followed with Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, which included discussions on AIDS and the Millennium Summit.
A one-on-one meeting with former Federal President Richard von Weizsacker was his last appointment before leaving for the airport to travel to Geneva in Switzerland.
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