8 June 1998

Press Release


Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's toast at a luncheon today on the occasion of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly devoted to countering the world drug problem together:

I am very pleased to welcome you all to the United Nations today. The attendance of so many world leaders at this special session is a source of hope and inspiration to me. Such high-level gatherings come about when the international community recognizes that there is a real opportunity to find common ground and make a difference, however daunting the task, however difficult the decisions before us.

You have come to this special session on countering the world drug problem because you recognize that we must take new and bold steps to combat this evil; this scourge which has ensnared too many of our children.

One might look upon this gathering as not so different from a family crisis meeting. It has come about because we, the family of nations, know we must take action together against something which is threatening our youth and our future. We know that the success of our actions depends on each member of our family doing its duty; each one owning up to its problems; each one standing ready to play its part.

And so our coming together today is not only about all of us looking at specific action plans to combat illegal drugs; it is also about each of us testing our political will; about gauging the sacrifices we are willing to make; about assuming equal responsibility -- whether we represent nations North or South, old or young, East or West, rich or poor.

And so, Excellencies and friends, allow me to raise my glass in the hope that when we look back upon this meeting, we will remember it as a time when the test of our will became the testimony of our commitment. The time when we pledged to work together towards a family of nations free of drugs in the twenty-first century.

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