01/12/2003
Press Release
SG/SM/9040



SECRETARY-GENERAL HAILS ANNIVERSARY OF COSTA RICA’S


ABOLITION OF ITS ARMED FORCES


Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s video message on the fifty-fifth anniversary of Costa Rica’s abolition of its armed forces, 1 December:


The Costa Ricans themselves have put it best.  Fifty-five years ago today, their country “declared peace to the world”.


Costa Rica’s decision to abolish its armed forces, on 1 December 1948, was a decision of great boldness, but also of great wisdom.  It undoubtedly explains –- at least in part -– the fact that Costa Rica today ranks among the highest countries in the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme.  Costa Ricans have sought security by investing their scarce resources, not in weapons and other military expenditure, but in the provision of essential welfare services and the pursuit of peace and justice -- both domestic and international.


Costa Rica’s decision also set a remarkable precedent.  I hope today’s celebration will encourage other countries around the world –- and particularly Costa Rica’s neighbours in the Central American region –- to take inspiration from its success and make greater efforts to achieve disarmament.


And I wish all my friends in Costa Rica many happy returns of this auspicious day!


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