11 July 2006 Opening a new complex to house United Nations offices in Germany, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today praised the central role support for the world Organization has long played in German foreign policy.
“One might even say that UN ideals have become part of the country’s very identity. Having themselves known the horror of war, and the errant path a society can take, the German people are strongly committed to peace, human rights and sustainable development - and not just at home,” he said in Bonn, citing German participation in peacekeeping from Afghanistan to the Balkans and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“With today’s opening of this campus, Germany’s commitment to the United Nations grows deeper still. The renowned ‘Langer Eugen,’ which formerly housed the parliamentarians of a divided Germany, is now the place where all UN agencies are united, and will work as a single family.”
Bonn serves as a headquarters for UN bodies whose tasks range from mitigating and adapting to climate change and saving migratory animals and endangered species to protecting 1 billion people the consequences of land degradation and improving early warning of natural disasters.
It also hosts UN Volunteers, which sends thousands of people all around the world to help with the essential work of economic and social development.
At a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Annan was asked whether the UN depended too much on the United States. “The United States is the only superpower in the world. It has a leadership role within the Organization, but it cannot act alone. It has to act with the other Member States,” he said.
“The UN needs the United States and the United States needs the UN, and we need to work together, and I think by and large on many occasions we are able to work together, but we do have our differences. There are situations where we differ and I think it ought to be possible for us to differ and still work together.”
He noted that the UN worked better when all its key Member States shared a common view of which direction the Organization should take.
“If there are bitter differences between the US and the UN, either with the other UN Members or with the Secretary-General and the Secretariat, it does lead to problems, but I think we can function and do function with the US despite some of the difficulties we have had, and which is natural,” he said. “We shouldn’t be too overly upset about it. The main thing is that we should accept the UN’s interest to serve the interests of all States, large and small, and that it is the only indispensable organization we have and we must all support it.” Meanwhile today, a spokesman for the Secretary-General announced that he would attend the pledging conference for the African Union force in Darfur, Sudan, scheduled to take place in Brussels on 18 July.