|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5607th Meeting (AM)
unanimous applause as Security Council adopts resolution 1733 (2006)
in tribute to outgoing Secretary-General kofi annan
Paying tribute to the seventh United Nations Secretary-General as he prepared to step down on 31 December after a decade at the helm of the world body, the Security Council expressed its deep appreciation to Kofi Annan this morning for his dedication to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Organization’s Charter and to the development of friendly relations among nations.
Adopting resolution 1733 (2006) by acclamation and a unanimous round of applause, the Council also acknowledged the Secretary-General’s contribution to international peace, security and development; his exceptional efforts to solve international problems in the economic, social and cultural fields; and his endeavours to meet humanitarian needs and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
Recognizing also the Secretary-General’s sustained efforts to find just and lasting solutions to various disputes and conflicts around the globe, the Council commended the reforms initiated by the Secretary-General –- the first to be elected from among the United Nations staff -- and his many proposals on the restructuring and strengthening of the role and functioning of the United Nations system.
In his farewell statement to the Council, Secretary-General Annan said he was relinquishing the task of upholding the Organization’s sacred and exalting duty to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” with relief, but not without regret.
He said the Council’s work had been greatly strengthened during his 10 years as Secretary-General, noting, however, that he had often allowed himself to be critical of its composition, as well as its actions or failure to act, and had tried to tell the Council what it needed to know, rather than what it wished to hear. Yet, the “primary responsibility for international peace and security” was not an easy one to bear and it was much easier to criticize the Council from outside than to take decisions in it.
Emphasizing that it was painful for him to leave office with the Middle East in such a fragile and dangerous state, he also expressed the fervent hope that the Council was at least close to rescuing the people of Darfur from their agony. “We have all learnt, from some bitter experiences, that we cannot afford to take Governments’ word for it when they assure us that all is well in their country, or that they have the situation under control.” While change for the worse was often dramatic, change for the better was generally incremental. Many conflicts had been peacefully resolved, many had at least been brought under control, with hope of better times on the horizon and, though it was much harder to prove, many had also been prevented.
Expressing the Council’s appreciation to the world’s top diplomat, its President for December, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser ( Qatar) thanked Mr. Annan for his profound commitment to the United Nations in discharging his awesome responsibility during his 10-year tenure. The Council appreciated the high professional and personal qualities, as well as moral leadership, that he had brought to the Organization.
At the Organization’s helm during a decade of review, assessment and reform, Mr. Annan had, to his great credit, led the reform movement with quiet deliberation, launching many initiatives aimed at strengthening the United Nations system and enhancing its capacity to meet the challenges of the day.
The meeting began at 10:16 a.m. and adjourned at 10:43 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1733 (2006) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recognizing the central role that Secretary-General Kofi Annan has played in guiding the Organization in the discharge of his responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations,
“Further recognizing his sustained efforts towards finding just and lasting solutions to various disputes and conflicts around the globe,
“Commending the reforms that he has initiated and the many proposals that he has made on the restructuring and strengthening of the role and functioning of the United Nations system,
“1. Acknowledges the contribution of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to international peace, security and development, his exceptional efforts to solve international problems in economic, social and cultural fields, as well as his endeavours to meet humanitarian needs and to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all;
“2. Expresses its deep appreciation to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his dedication to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter and to the development of friendly relations among nations.”
Action on Draft Resolution
The Security Council adopted the draft resolution in tribute to outgoing Secretary-General Kofi Annan by acclamation, rather than a show of hands, and with a unanimous round of applause.
Summary of Council Tribute
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar), in his capacity as Security Council President for December, expressed, on behalf of all Council members, profound gratitude for the dedicated service and commitment that Secretary-General Annan had provided the United Nations in discharging his awesome Charter responsibility during his 10-year tenure. Members appreciated also the high professional and personal qualities, as well as moral leadership, he had brought to the Organization as the world’s top diplomat. The Council recalled the Secretary-General’s active and efficient support for its work the efforts he had expended to further its objectives.
He said that, in paying a special tribute to the Secretary-General at the end of his successful term, it was fitting to reflect on the past decade, which had witnessed global crises and challenges to the international community. Mr. Annan’s time in office had been marked by new and special threats, challenges and changes in the international arena and, as a global leader with creative vision, he had contributed to numerous global efforts to face them.
Noting that Mr. Annan had guided the Organization through the dawn of the new Millennium, he said a remarkable event characterized that period -- the adoption of the Millennium Declaration and what had come to be known as the Millennium Development Goals, which had immediately become top priorities for the Secretary-General.
Mr. Annan had been at the helm of the world body during a period coinciding, more or less, with the timespan between the Organization’s golden and diamond jubilees, he noted. That period had been characterized by a great number of reviews, assessments, evaluations and re-evaluations. At the organizational level, the decade had been marked by intensive and considerable attention to reform in all its aspects. Mr. Annan, to his great credit, had led the reform movement with quiet deliberation, launching many initiatives aimed at strengthening the United Nations system and enhancing its capacity to meet the challenges of the day.
He said Mr. Annan had received wide recognition for his dedication to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter, in particular his sustained efforts for the maintenance of international peace and security, to find just and lasting solutions to various complex disputes and conflicts around the globe, and towards the development of friendly relations among nations.
In a few days, Mr. Annan would pass the baton to his successor, he said, adding that the Council was confident that the new Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, would also perform an exemplary job. The Council extended to the outgoing Secretary-General its Council’s warmest wishes for further advancement, health and prosperity, as well as the very best of luck as he continued his invaluable contributions to issues of concern to the United Nations and the global community.
Statement by Secretary-General
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, noted that, barring unforeseen crises in the next nine days, which one should never rule out in the Council of all places, today’s meeting with the Council would be his last as Secretary-General. The Council deserved thanks, not only for using the meeting to pass such a generous resolution, but also for making it coincide with another decision that it was about to adopt -- the one to extend the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL).
Describing Sierra Leone as “definitely one of the success stories” of his work with the Council, he said the country was a good example of what could be achieved by the United Nations and its Member States working together. It was stable, but still fragile and needed continued help in building effective State institutions, especially those dealing with security, human rights, justice and the preparation of next year’s elections, which would be critical to the consolidation of peace.
He said that, in 10 years as Secretary-General, he had often allowed himself to make critical remarks about the Council, particularly about its composition. With a more democratic and responsive character, the Council would gain even greater legitimacy, and its authority would be more widely respected. While having also criticized the Council’s action, or more often, its failure to act, he had tried, following the excellent advice of the Brahimi report, to tell the Council what it needed to know, not what it wanted to hear. Yet, the “primary responsibility for international peace and security” was not an easy one to bear and, in fact, it was much easier to criticize the Council from outside than to take decisions in it.
In spite of that, the Council’s members had generally listened with surprising good grace, he said. The Council’s work had been greatly strengthened during the past 10 years, the mandates it had given were more coherent and robust when required, and were more often matched with something like the necessary resources. Its members followed up their decisions with greater vigilance, demanding full reports on the missions they mandated, and sometimes going to see for themselves on the spot. The Council had also passed some very important thematic resolutions, especially resolution 1325 (2000) on the role of women and peace and security, and it was generally more cognizant of the need to prevent conflict, rather than wait to react after it occurred.
“We have all learnt, from some bitter experiences, that we cannot afford to take Governments’ word for it when they assure us that all is well in their country, or that they have the situation under control,” he said. The Council needed to be fully briefed on issues of human rights, since gross violations did not only occur during conflict, but were often harbingers of it. There was certainly no room for complacency.
Emphasizing that it was painful for him to leave office with the Middle East in such a fragile and dangerous state, he also expressed the fervent hope that the Council was at least close to rescuing the people of Darfur from their agony. Reports from Khartoum indicated the possibility that President Omar al-Bashir might give the green light tomorrow for a full ceasefire, a renewed effort to bring all parties to the conflict into the political process, and for deployment of the proposed African Union-United Nations hybrid force to protect the population.
But it would be necessary to see the document, he said, adding that after so many disappointments he took nothing for granted. But there was no cause for despair, either. While change for the worse was often dramatic, change for the better was generally incremental. Many conflicts had been peacefully resolved, many had at least been brought under control and, though it was much harder to prove, many had been prevented. It remained the Organization’s sacred and exalting duty to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. Having had the privilege of sharing that effort, both in success and in failure, “I now relinquish that task, with relief but not without regret. And I pray that you will have even greater success in the future.”
* *** *For information media • not an official record