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New York, 15 September 2011

Secretary-General, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour to be with you at today’s Peace Bell ceremony, to mark the International Day of Peace. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors for their valuable work, and to wish them every success in the future in fulfilling their important mission.

This year, the International Day of Peace feels particularly significant. People across the globe, including our youth, are joining together and calling for peace and justice in voices previously unheard. Historic shifts are taking place across the Arab world, in the name of peace, democracy and human rights. These shifts remind us of the pressing need to seek peace peacefully, to use mediation and other tools to broker legitimate, lasting peace.

We are also reminded that peace is not just the absence of war. Living peacefully means having food and shelter, health care and education, freedom and dignity. To help ensure and promote sustainable peace, we must continue to focus on development, improving living standards, and protecting human rights.

This year, as President of the 66th session of the General Assembly, I will work hard to further our vital mission of maintaining international peace and security. I will focus the Assembly’s efforts on four main priority areas: the peaceful settlements of disputes; UN reform and revitalization; improving disaster prevention and response; and sustainable development and global prosperity. I will undertake this work in the spirit of cooperation and consensus-building, and with particular attention to South-South and triangular cooperation, as well as dialogue among civilizations. I will also emphasise the need for the full and effective implementation of Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, in cooperation of course with governments, the Secretary-General and civil society.

It is my firm belief that by working together in close partnership, and with the UN Charter as our guide, we will advance our ultimate goal of peace and prosperity for all.

Thank you.




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