OFF THE CUFF
This document contains remarks made from 1 October to December 2001
(To find a particular subject, press Control and F simultaneously, then type in the word you wish to find. To scroll from one encounter to another, type Control and F simultaneously, then type *****. Continue to click on "Find Next".)
Press encounter at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, 13 Dec. 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Q: How do you feel about the situation in the Middle East and what can the UN do?
SG: I think, like everyone else, I’m distressed about what’s going on in the region. Recently, there has been enhanced international involvement in an attempt to break the impasse and eventually lead the parties back to the negotiating table. And so what is happening is serious and we need to continue and redouble our efforts to try and contain it before it gets completely out of hand.
My own representative on the ground, Terje Roed-Larsen, is working very closely with the Russian Envoy, the European Union and the American Representative, as a team, as a quartet, he’s working with the parties and keeping us informed. I’m in touch with the other leaders who are engaged in this ....
Q: But how can you get them back to the negotiating table when they don’t want to?
SG: This is it. For the time being, there hasn’t been an indication that they are ready to do it. But I don’t think we should give up our effort and hope. It does mean we need to work harder because the killing cannot go on. There’s too much suffering. Innocent people are being killed. And we need to do everything we can to get them back to the table. The violence has to stop.
Q: How do you look on the fact that the Israelis don’t talk to Yasser Arafat?
SG: I have heard the reports but we need to analyze that a bit more. Is it just Arafat? Would they deal with other people in the PLO? We need to really look into this and see what it means because in effect we need to keep the link, we need to keep a dialogue going. They have discussions on security, about reducing tension. That has to continue. And it takes two sides to talk and so we need to look at that.
Q: But the Israelis demand a ceasefire before getting back to the table.
SG: I know this is the position and this has been the position for a while. But up till now, it has not yielded results. It hasn’t failed, it hasn’t worked. And I think we need to look for some fresh approaches to break this impasse. I think we need to work with the parties to find a way out, because to say that this is what we demand, if it doesn’t work for eight months to a year, we need to be looking at new approaches.
Secretary-General's Press Conference with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson Stockholm, 12 December 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Prime Minister: Mr. Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon. Welcome to this press conference. We have had informal talks with Secretary-General Kofi Annan but before the talks of substance, of course, I congratulated him, the Secretary-General and the United Nations being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And also thanked him for inspiring leadership and having given new authority to the United Nations. And there is firm support in the Swedish society for the United Nations and of course for the Secretary-General Kofi Annan. We discussed the situation in the Middle East. I am sorry to say, we always do, and not least, the necessity of bringing both sides back to the negotiating table. And having said that demands of course also two problems: a Palestinian Authority that is well functioning and that is also to say that we express support for Chairman Arafat and ask him to take the necessary steps to stop the extremists who committed the suicide deeds a couple of weeks ago and the organizations behind. There is no other solution but a political solution for the Middle East, and therefore there is a necessity to go back to the negotiating table.
We also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, and we expressed from our side our thanks for what the UN has done so far, and not least what Mr. Brahimi has done in his way of leading the discussions in Bonn a week ago. And now we are looking forward to the next phase with the also extremely important from Sweden's side, mainly of course contribution to humanitarian assistance and aid. And as you may be aware, we have been in Afghanistan for many, many years, and we have roughly anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 Afghans on the Swedish payroll, mainly teachers and nurses, and we will continue to give the UN the best assistance we can.
After Afghanistan we also discussed the fight against terrorism. You know we are concerned about the sanctions, not least having Swedish citizens on the sanction list. We discussed that situation and the Secretary-General himself can elaborate more about that discussion later. Then of course we also discussed the incoming (sic) extremely important summits in Monterey and Johannesburg. So we have a new start for a dialogue between South and North is necessary and also taking into account the incoming (sic) summit in Lachen tomorrow and the day after where for the first time in the European Union we will be able to unite about the target for development aid to 0.7% of GDP. That is a clear signal from the European Union we intend through different types of activities to give support to the extremely important summits in both Mexico and South Africa. I will myself, together with President Cardozo of Brazil and President Mbeki of South Africa [on] the 5th of June [do] a video conference 30 years after the Stockholm summit on the environment and 10 years after the Rio summit and the same year we are going for the Johannesburg summit. Perhaps we will also take other initiatives together to support the UN in this endeavor, to make Johannesburg a new start for the dialogue between South and North. That is mainly what we have discussed. Once more, Mr. Secretary-General, my heartfelt congratulations for the Nobel Peace Prize. Welcome to Stockholm! Thank you.
Secretary-General: Thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister. Ladies and Gentlemen, as you should [know], I'm extremely happy to be here in Stockholm. And, indeed, the UN and I are extremely honoured by the award conferred on us. It is of great importance, both symbolic and in practical terms. And I hope it will help us in our work and it will give us an added voice as we plead for the poor and voiceless.
The Prime Minister has given you an indication of what we discussed. The only thing I would want to add is that we also agreed that these conferences -- the Financing for Development Conference and the Conference on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg -- must yield concrete results. They should really have meaning in the lives of the people, the poor in the developing world, and make it possible for them to begin to build their lives.
And as I said in Oslo two days ago, the real division in the world today is not really between nations, it's between rich and poor, the powerful and the powerless, the fettered and the free, and this is where we can make a difference. And I believe that the attacks of 11 September have also driven home that point - that we live in a single world, in one planet, and what happens in one part of the world can have an impact elsewhere. And I hope that this message will propel us to do whatever we can to bridge the differences between nations and within nations.
We'll take your questions now.
Secretary-General: Approve it too fast? I think first of all let me say that the Security Council following its resolution 1373, established a committee to follow-up. The list was a list provided by the American Government, which the Council has shared with the Member States. I know there are some questions about some aspects of the list, which Member States are discussing with the Council members and amongst themselves, and I think it is natural. And I would hope that as we move forward effective clarifications will be given. Let me also add that this resolution - 1373 - is a unique one. Normally the Council passes resolutions dealing with specific countries, whether it's Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan. This is a historic one in the sense that it's the first Security Council resolution under Chapter VII which applies to all 189 Member States. So in a way we are all learning how to manage this sort of a new situation. So it is normal that there will be questions and I hope there will be effective clarifications as we move forward.
Secretary-General: As I said, questions and clarifications are being sought and they are preparing to get into some of the details. I know that your government is seeking clarifications. The Ambassador is in touch with the Security Council which is managing this process and as we move forward into the future, I am sure that necessary clarifications, explanations and adjustments will be made.
Question: Mr. Secretary-General, do you think Sweden should take part in a multi-national force in Afghanistan?
Secretary-General: It's a big question. It's a question that the government and the people of Sweden will have to determine. I expect the Security Council to provide a mandate for the force in the next couple of days, before the end of this week, latest early next week, and I know that most governments tend to want to wait for the mandate of the Council to determine whether they should participate or not. We are all determined to do whatever we can to build a stable Afghanistan, an Afghanistan where citizens can live their lives in normalcy. And whatever countries can do to help - activities are wide: from humanitarian to multinational force, to reconstruction and rehabilitation and assistance to the new government in developing and building-up a new administration. So we are going to need a range of expertise and support and I would hope that as many governments as possible, including Sweden, will support us in any way they can.
Question: Why can't the multinational force be led by the United Nations?
Secretary-General: As you know, we don't have a force. The way UN Blue-Helmets are put on the ground is rather time-consuming. In fact, we often wait for the mandate to be approved and then approach individual governments to give us troops. And it takes about 3 to 5 months to put them on the ground, and in situations where it is urgent and some governments with capacity are prepared to go in quickly, it is faster to let them do it because the rapidity of deployment has an impact on the problem you are dealing with. You may be able to contain it sometimes or nip it in the bud. For the essence of speed and the urgency I think a multinational force will get in much faster than the UN force and this is why we opted for that option and I hope down the line an Afghan police force and others will be trained to take over.
Secretary-General: My position on that has been clear. I don't think it will be wise and I should not advise it. How the Council will react will be up to the Council.
Secretary-General: Well, I think the Council resolution 1373 focused, indicated - obviously we need to cooperate to fight terrorism but the only statement it made was that perpetrators of the 11 September attack should be brought to justice. So far all the indications and evidence we have is that they are in Afghanistan and that is where this military effort has concentrated and at this stage I have no evidence or any reason to support the position that the war should be carried on into other areas. If there is other evidence, I don't have it
Secretary-General: Let me say that we obtained a peace monument, and in fact we had several aborted competitions and I think we are getting close to approving one so that the peace monument will be set up in the UN garden in New York. As for the current one, there are two parts to the award. And my idea is that we should pool it together, both my half and that of the UN proper and do one single project. We have quite a few ideas that we are looking at, and I hope to be able to settle it with the Member States and then set up a project fairly quickly. I can assure you we'll put it to very good use.
Secretary-General: It's not excluded. It could be humanitarian, it could be a lecture series discussing issues on the horizon which are of great importance. It could be something to help children whose parents have been lost in peacekeeping operations. There's a whole range of ideas we're looking at.
Secretary-General: I don't have a number because it is not a UN operation. The planning is not being done by us and the indications are that the British would accept to be the lead-nation, and therefore would be in the lead on the planning and I would need to have further discussions with them to be able to give you a number. On the question of who else is going to join the force, lots of countries have been mentioned but there are intense discussions going on and I would much rather wait for the governments to announce it themselves rather than for me to volunteer them at a press conference in Stockholm.
Press encounter as SG entered the Parliament Building in Stockholm, Sweden, 12 Dec. 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Q: [Al Qaeda fighters are asking] for UN protection. Are you willing to give them that?
SG: [My Special Representative Lakhdar] Brahimi is down on the ground and obviously we are not very heavily represented on the ground. We have no troops, we have no facilities, but I will have to check with my people on the ground what is happening.
This is not the first time we’ve been asked to take on something of that kind, but to do it you need physically to be present, with troops, with equipment, with others, that we don’t have yet.
Press encounter the signing of the guest book at the Swedish Parliament, Stockholm, 12 December 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Q: [concerning the formation of the multinational force for Afghanistan]
SG: They [the Afghan parties] have invited the UN to come in: they agreed on it in Bonn, and Mr. Brahimi has had good discussions in Kabul. And I think they are welcome and they will help create a secure environment for our activities and the establishment of a new government on the ground. We are not going to impose anything on anybody, but to help ensure that constructive activities can be carried out.
Press encounter after meeting with Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik of Norway, Oslo, 11 December 2001
[Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik opened the press conference with a statement, congratulating the Secretary-General on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday, then gave the floor to the Secretary-General.]
SG: Once again, let me say how happy I am to be back in Oslo with my team from the UN and my wife and family.
We have had a very good discussion this morning. I'm grateful, Mr. Prime Minister, for your words of congratulations to me and the UN team. And I would also want to thank you, and through you the Norwegian people, for the strong support you have always given to the UN, to the activities of the Organization, for your leadership role and for the support you have given to me personally.
I think this morning, as the Prime Minister has indicated, we had the opportunity to discuss many important issues. In addition to what the Prime Minister has raised, we did discuss the question of development and the alleviation of poverty. We discussed the issue of the Conference on the Financing for Development, which is an important one coming up in March next year in Monterrey, Mexico. And of course the Sustainable Development Conference in Johannesburg in [September]. These are essential efforts, essential conferences in our attempts to implement the Millennium goals. To do that, we are going to need additional resources. We're going to need very firm cooperation between the developed and the developing world. And I believe that in Monterrey, Mexico, we have an opportunity to lay the basis and foundation for that cooperation and we should be able to discuss issues like increased official development assistance, more effective debt relief as well as the management of the global economy and the role of the developing world in the decisions affecting the global economy.
Thank you very much. We will take your questions.
Q: Yesterday, the Northern Alliance said they would not withdraw all their soldiers from Kabul and they would not allow the international force to patrol in the streets. Now that the Taliban have been ousted, is there a risk that the Northern Alliance might prove to be a bit difficult?
SG: There's always that possibility when you're operating in a country where there's been war for a long time and alliances have been created some of convenience, some genuine. You can have difficulties. The Security Council will be discussing the issue of an international force for Afghanistan, I hope in the course of the week or very shortly. My own Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, will be going to Kabul, hopefully tomorrow. He will have the opportunity of discussing all these issues with the leaders on the ground and to work with them in preparing for the establishment of the new administration. The target date as of now is the 22nd of December. And I think we will have a better sense of what is going on on the ground after Mr. Brahimi has had his discussions. I am hopeful that the Afghans will cooperate with the international community to help create a secure environment that will allow aid workers to operate, will allow the new administration to establish itself and eventually lead to a stable environment that could lead to elections and the reconstruction phase.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, it is obvious that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network is now quite isolated at this time and may be caught. How should the international community treat them if they are caught and brought to justice? What sort of justice?
SG: I will have to rely on the Security Council Resolution which requires that the perpetrators of the 11 September attack should be brought to justice. The question has been raised as to whether or not a special tribunal will have to be set up for them or they could be tried in a national court. I hesitate to speak in front of the President of the International Court of Justice who's in the room with us this morning and also two members of the Security Council are here with us. But what I would suspect is that so far the Council has set-up two tribunals, one for Yugoslavia and one for Rwanda. And they are thinking of one for Sierra Leone and another one for Cambodia. I'm not sure if we are ready to set up a fifth one for terrorists. My suspicion is that they could end up being tried in a national court too. If we had had an International [Criminal Court], that would have been the logical court. But even there, as the statute stands now, it doesn't actually cover terrorism. I suspect one of the first things that court will do when it is established is to try and extend its remit to cover terrorist activities of this kind. So if one were to catch bin Laden, I cannot give you the precise information as to how he will be treated. One option as I said would be a special court, the other would be by a national tribunal.
Q: When you say national tribunal do you mean a military, a tribunal in the United States?
SG: No I'm not referring to a military tribunal. It could be any criminal court. I was talking in terms of a criminal court. I wasn't thinking of a military tribunal. I'm not an advocate for that.
Q: Mr. General-Secretary, did you discuss with the Prime Minister the possibility of Norwegian participation in the peace force in Afghanistan?
SG: We did discuss the peace force in Afghanistan but we did not discuss specifically Norwegian participation. But Norway has always been a good international citizen and I am sure that it will participate in our activities in Afghanistan in one way or another. But I didn't get into details of that participation.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, just to follow-up on the question of the justice for bin Laden and other terrorists, the US has clearly proposed plans for a military court. Do you see any problems with that in relation to the status of the international court already under the UN system?
SG: I am not sure. Obviously the US is acting in accordance with its own national legislation and even there, there is a debate regarding the establishment of this military court. The UN has demonstrated through its own actions, in the establishment of various tribunals, and our own emphasis on the rule of law and our human rights conventions. I think we made clear the kind and type of court that we would like to see. I think I have said enough on that.
Prize for Peace - Interview with Jonathan Mann of CNN in Oslo, Norway, 10 December 2001 (unofficial transcript) - for further use please contact CNN concerning copyright restrictions
Announcer: The simple dream of peace, the sprawling institution that serves it, the soft-spoken diplomat who leads the effort -- in the centennial year of the Nobel Peace Prize, the award is bestowed to the United Nations and its Secretary-General.
Unidentified participant: I call upon the peace prize laureate for 2001, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to come forward to receive the gold medal and the diploma.
Announcer: From Oslo, Norway, CNN presents the Prize for Peace, a discussion with the co-laureate of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. And now, from the site of the annual awards ceremony, CNN's Jonathan Mann.
JM: Hello, and welcome.
There are years when the choice of laureates for the Nobel Peace Prize surprise us. There are years when some of us get angry. And then sometimes, like this year, the choice seems obvious. The selection by the Norwegian Nobel Committee of the United Nations and its Secretary-General as the laureates of the Peace Prize for 2001 draws our attention back to something that's very easy to overlook: that never before in human history has there been an organization with the ideals and the enormous obligations of the United Nations.
We're going to talk about that for the next hour, talk about the work and the people of the UN.
But before we do, join me in congratulating the co-laureates of the 2001 Nobel Prize for peace: the United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
JM: There's lots to talk about. We're going to get underway in a moment, but, before we do, let's take a look at why you and the UN were chosen.
JM (voice-over): When the United States began its airstrikes on Afghanistan, four members of a UN mine clearance team were among the first civilians killed. When anthrax appeared in the mail, and some feared smallpox would be next, the UN had expertise to offer. It was the World Health Organization, a UN agency, that defeated smallpox decades ago. Now that Afghanistan has to be rebuilt, the UN is involved as well, working with the disparate factions to form a new government and head off more conflict.
In one way or another, it seems like almost every problem in the world ends up at some part of the UN. In the years since it was founded, in 1945, UN efforts -- UN officials, ambassadors, and agencies -- have been chosen for the Nobel Peace Prize more than any other organization.
Why did it win again? The Nobel citation explained it as a special endorsement: "Through this first peace prize to the UN as such, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes in its centenary year to proclaim that the only negotiable route to global peace and cooperation goes by the way of the United Nations."
But it's not just the UN; Kofi Annan was honoured as well.
Donald McHenry, Fmr. US Ambassador to the UN: He's brought a new spirit to the organization. It was demoralized. He has worked with the organization in reform. He has worked with the United States and others in taking on some of the great new issues of our time. These aren't Cold War issues; these are the issues of life and death, of AIDS, of internal stability in countries where there are drastic civil wars going on. And I think he's done an excellent job in that respect.
JM: Even under Annan, the organization still manages to outrage its critics, who wonder if Syria really deserves to be on the Human Rights Commission, or sit on the Security Council, as it will in the new year.
But at the UN, that is precisely the way it's supposed to be.
Sir Brian Urquhart, Former UN Under-Secretary-General: This isn't a sort of Boy Scout organization; this is supposedly a realistic reflection of what the world is like, with warts and all. And if you don't like Syria, or you don't like this or that, or even if you don't like the United States and come from another part of the world, it's not the organization for you.
JM: But what kind of organization is it? Even through its name, the United Nations embodies enormous ambitions. Its critics see only limited success. Its critics see only limited success.
David Rieff, Author: The main thing that's been proven is that the UN is a useful subaltern institution when great powers want to use it for certain purposes. Then, it can play a very useful role, indeed an essential role. It's also become the world's welfare agency, a kind of giant alleviation machine. And there, again, it plays a very useful role.
The one role it does not play usefully is the role it was set up to play, that is as the premier peace and security institution in the world.
JM: No one calls the police to report a happy family or a nice, quiet day. The United Nations is called on to address problems that even entire countries can't solve, and it gets handed new ones, it seems like almost every day.
Kofi Annan, why don't we begin our conversation with a problem that's in the news now: Afghanistan. Is the war over? Is Afghanistan going to be a peaceful normal country now?
SG: I think we have a long way to go. The war seems to be ending, but we really do not know because there's considerable instability on the ground, and we are going to need a security unit to ensure that we have the right environment to be able to continue our humanitarian assistance, to be able to reach the needy and help advise the new administration in carrying on its work. And we need stability not just to deliver assistance, but also to be able to begin thinking and acting on recovery and reconstruction. So the hard part is ahead of us.
JM: When you say security, everyone thinks of blue helmets. There's a new interim administration that will be taking up power in a little more than two weeks. Are there going to be UN peacekeepers in there by then?
SG: We hope there will be a force on the ground, but it wouldn't be UN blue helmets as such. I hope it would be a coalition of the willing, a multinational force, coming from member states of the UN with capacity who will go in there and work with the new administration to maintain peace and order, so that we can get our work done, and, of course, the population can also get around to rebuilding its life.
JM: We were talking to a former Assistant Secretary[-General] John Ruggie -- if I'm pronouncing his name right -- and he said this is just about the worst place in the world for any peacekeeping force. Are you concerned about the security of the forces that will go in? Afghanistan's not traditionally all that hospitable to outside armies.
SG: History is not on our side, and, of course, the force that goes in has to be well equipped and prepared for all eventualities. But it's going to be tough, it's going to be dangerous, and the governments who are going in must also be prepared; they must accept there will be risks. This is not a risk-free operation. But it needs to be done if we are going to be able to help the Afghans get back to their feet.
JM: There is already a new leader-designate for the interim administration, and he has said that if and when Mullah Mohammed Omar, the head of the Taliban, is found, he will be delivered to what he called international justice. Are you international justice? Is the United Nations going to put Mullah Mohammed Omar on trial?
SG: Well, I don't know what the [Security] Council will do, if we are offered Mullah Mohammad. Since we do not have an International Criminal Court yet -- and I hope that will be established in the course of next year -- or we will begin the process of establishing it, and even then, the first thing they may have to do is to add terrorism to its [inaudible] and put terrorists on trial. Since we don't have such a court, in each situation, if you look back, we've set up a special court -- for Bosnia, for Rwanda -- we are talking of one for Cambodia and possibly one for Sierra Leone -- so there are legal issues which will have to be dealt with. It is also quite conceivable that he could be tried in a member state.
JM: Let me interrupt and ask you about that, because one member state, in particular, would be very happy to try him. The United States is searching for him, searching and intensifying its search now for Osama bin Laden. How would you feel -- how do you think the nations of the world would feel -- to see Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden tried by a U.S. military tribunal, perhaps in secret, perhaps with -- or almost certainly, if it's a tribunal, with U.S. soldiers sitting as his judges, with his ability to appeal not inside of a court system, but going through the Secretary of Defence to the President of the United States? Would that look like justice to the world?
SG: As you know this proposal has raised lots of questions, not least in the United States itself, where people are asking questions. I do realize and accept that when a nation has gone through the sort of trauma and the crisis that we saw after 11 September, almost a loss of innocence for the American people, there is a sense to do something about it, assure the security and safety of the population. But the United States is also a nation of laws, and one of the most exemplary nations when it comes to checks and balances in the judiciary, and this has raised questions.
My own judgment, or my sense, is that if one is going to err, one should err on the side of liberty and freedom because, in effect, the question is how much liberty and freedom do you give up for security and safety? And if you do give up liberty and freedom for security and safety, do you in the end have security? It's a tough issue.
JM: We're going to talk more about it in a moment. We have to take a break. But September 11th hangs very heavily in the air. When we come back, we're going to talk more about an old problem that's taken on very new dimensions. Stay with us.
JM: Welcome back to Oslo. The United States wants to lead the world in a war against terrorism. In Washington, there are estimates that 40 or 50 or 60 countries may have terrorists at work in their midst.
Kofi Annan, the fight against terrorism, the threat to national security, is number one on the U.S. national agenda, number one on the list of priorities of the Bush administration. Let me ask you about your agenda, about the world's agenda. When you look at problems like preventable diseases, when you look at diseases like AIDS, when you look at poverty, or famine, or the lack of access to clean drinking water or medical care, where does it sit on your agenda?
SG: Obviously, on 11 September, there was tremendous solidarity with the United States, and I think it's been sustained since then. I could tell the atmosphere and the feeling in the UN building. The attack was on the United States, but the question was where could it be next? It could have been anywhere. And of course, the members of the organization rallied very promptly in support, and also to take action, against terrorism. And since then, there has been lots of focus on terrorism.
But the old problems, the old problems that existed on 10 September, before the attack, are still with us: elimination of poverty, the fight against HIV/AIDS, the question of environment and ensuring that we stop exploiting the resources of the Earth the way we are doing, and beginning to think of the future and the planet we are going to leave to our children and their children. All these issues, the issue of good governance, are with us, and I think we need to focus on them as well, because if we do not focus on them, it will not be long before we realize that people in other regions are beginning to lose interest. If we do not show interest in issues of concern to them and their problems, they are going to be losing interest in issues which are number one in Washington's agenda. It is important to them, but there are other pressing things for them as well.
JM: The agenda of the United States, though, began with a war in Afghanistan. It may not end there, unless the Security Council -- you were informed of this officially in recent days -- members of the administration have been musing very publicly about attacks on Iraq, attacks on North Korea. In fact, depending on who you're listening to, the list goes on to include different countries. Do you see any pressing threat that would require military action to be resolved in either of those places, or anywhere else?
SG: Let me start by adding that I think Washington is realizing that they need to tackle some of the other issues -- poverty, conflict and all this -- and there's heightened interest in moving forward on some of these issues.
Regarding your specific question about attacks on Iraq and other countries, as I've had occasion to say many times, I think it would be unwise, and I should not advise it. I would hope that this will not be imminent, because I have not seen or known anyone to share any evidence that links Iraq to the attack on 11 September. One may argue that it need not necessarily be linked to an attack on 11 September. There may be other reasons.
But I think we need to consider the situation in the entire Middle East. We already have very serious tensions between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and I don't think one would want to destabilize that region any further. We should focus our energies on what is happening in Afghanistan and in trying to pull the Israelis and the Palestinians from the brink and try and get them back to the table.
JM: You've already warned me that you keep private conversations private, but I'm going to ask you anyway: You saw President Bush in the closing days of November; did this come up, and did you offer that suggestion?
SG: I have had discussions with the senior officials in Washington, and they know my view, and I've also had a chance to speak publicly on this. My own sense is that responsible officials in Washington understand that this is not the time to do this.
JM: OK, we're going to take another break now. When we come back, we're going to talk about a slightly different subject, about personally and professionally, how Kofi Annan put his imprint on the UN organization. Stay with us.
Elmo, of "Sesame Street": Can Elmo win the Nobel Peace Prize too?
SG: If you make lots of peace, and you work hard, and you get people to love each other, you will get a big Nobel Peace Prize.
Elmo: How long will that take? Two days? (laughter; end video clip)
JM: That's a side of you we don't see often see.
Welcome back to Oslo.
You're a serious man, you do a serious job; I'd love to talk more about Sesame Street. But instead, we're going to talk about the United Nations. CNN's Richard Roth, our correspondent there, has a look at why you've been so successful with the organization.
RR (voice-over): Kofi Annan was a company man at the United Nations, spending 33 years moving up through the system. Son of a Ghanaian chief, Kofi Annan is now leader of the world -- a compassionate diplomat in an often-cruel world.
Madeleine Albright, Former US Secretary of State: I thought that he was somebody that was destined to be a leader at the United Nations.
RR: His U.S. admirer helped Annan win the top post, blocking predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali from a second term. Knowing how the UN bureaucracy worked, and often didn't work, Annan realized he had to do more than rearrange the seats inside the General Assembly.
John Ruggie, Former Adviser to SG Annan: He invited me down shortly after he was elected and said, I need to have somebody in my office who isn't going to be swallowed up by the cable traffic and the in box, and would you be willing to help me strategize?
RR: He brought together the alphabet soup of UN agencies and held them more accountable. He opened up the government-heavy UN to a partnership with the private business sector, and just plain opened up the UN as the people's house.
Outside, Mr. Annan went to Washington to heal a valuable connection that was quickly deteriorating.
Richard Holbrooke, Former US Ambassador to the UN: His first and greatest achievement was to build a close relationship with Congress and to rebuild American confidence in the organization.
RR: Annan has championed the right of the UN to intervene for human rights and to pressure drug companies on developing AIDS drugs.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK Ambassador to the UN: This man is not a politician. He's a UN servant, become a politician in taking on this job, and done it with his own characteristic - a very quiet, un-arrogant, unemphatic style. And I think that appeals to people tremendously.
RR: But how far does niceness go? In the end, will the United Nations' 189 member states make a more meaningful commitment to Annan's ambitious goals and principles?
Ed Luck, Columbia University: That's a test that's going to be coming up in the next five-year term, and we have yet to see whether, in fact, that's a test and a hurdle that he can pass.
JM: I want to talk about policy, but first I want to talk about you as a person because you are, without a doubt, the most famous person in the world that no one knows anything about. We know that you are married, we know that you have children, but beyond that, we see you behind a podium and we see you at work, and we get the impression that you must live behind a box with the flag of the United Nations on it.
Let me ask you, first of all, about your free time, about what you do when you're not being Secretary-General?
SG: Well, Nane and I, my wife, we like walking, so we hike. We go hiking holidays. We walk in Central Park and around the streets on weekends. And we read, we take pictures, we play tennis when we can, and we laugh a lot, at ourselves and at situations.
JM: You know, it's so funny that you talk about walking, and about hiking, and about reading -- very quiet activities. You are an extremely quiet man, quintessentially diplomatic, and I'm curious about whether you are that way really, whether you are the quiet guy that we see, or whether you are professionally and completely under control because your position demands it.
SG: I don't think anyone can be professionally and constantly under control for that long. Something will have to give or something will explode. No, I'm by nature quiet. And I also look around me. I talk to people. I try to understand what is happening. Don't get me wrong, I do get angry like everybody else.
JM: I'm told you're even quieter when you're angry.
SG: That is correct [laughter]
That is correct. When I'm angry, and I'm really upset, I go very quiet, and when there's lots of activity and excitement around me, I go even calmer and quieter, because somebody has to stay calm to be able to steer things right, and so, as the captain of the ship, I cannot afford to lose my head or become wrapped up into all this. And so I feel it, I know what is going on, and I carry on.
JM: Let me ask you about your job now. You have spent years trying to cultivate the United States, trying to bring it back fully into the United Nations family, trying to bring back some of its money into the United Nations coffers, and you've been successful.
SG: …our money.
JM: You've been successful, but the timing of the success is particular. This has taken a long time. You were expecting, I think, $580 million. That was voted, if I've got my facts right, within two weeks of the September 11 attacks, and now the United Nations has discovered that it's going to get three times as much money as it was even expecting. Once again, correct my math if I'm wrong.
You waited for the United States and the new administration to confirm its Ambassador to the United Nations, and that languished in the Senate for months. Three days after September 11, the United States sent you an Ambassador.
Do you get a sense that the United States regards the United Nations almost like a player on a playing field, and you were pushed off the field because they didn't think they needed you to win, and now that they're in a difficult patch, they're bringing you on for the rest of the game, or for this portion of the game.
Do you get quiet when you think about that?
SG: Yes, I get quiet, but I keep pressing. I don't give up. I had expected the money to be paid much sooner than that. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, when he was Representative at the UN, focussed lots of attention this, working with other member states to craft a deal which was acceptable to all member states, and this went to the wire. In fact, he gave me a call just about four thirty, five o'clock in the morning, when it looked as if the deal would break down. We made some calls. I went to the General Assembly and joined them, and we got the deal. And I thought we would have received a check early in the year. In fairness to President Bush, he did assure me from the beginning that he's going to make sure the U.S. debt is paid. And in fact, a couple of months later, when I spoke to him and I said, 'Mr. President, thank you for what you are doing to get the money paid, we could use it', he said, 'Don't thank me -- we owe you. We owe you and we ought to pay.' This was around March or April.
Of course, things accelerated after the 11 September attack. The new ambassador came in. The checks began rolling in. And you're right - they did not only pay the arrears on the peacekeeping budget, but they also paid what they owed on the regular budget. So we got a substantial amount of money into the organization. The bulk of it will go back to the countries who offer troops, the troop-contributing countries, and we have owed them for years. Some are very poor, so the money will go back to them. But what is important is that the U.S. is back in the fray, is back in the fold of the family, and I think the important thing is to keep them there and for them to work with us.
If one thing has been realized is that since 11 September, everyone realizes -- and, I think, including Washington -- that there are issues today that no one country, however powerful, can resolve alone.
JM: I'm going to cut you off there. I apologize. We'll be back in just a moment.
JM: Welcome back. This is going to be awkward. A great many people have gathered here to honour the United Nations and the Secretary-General, but we can't look closely at the UN and overlook what happened in Rwanda in 1994 - a genocide that the world and the UN, it should be said, essentially watched unfold, without raising a hand.
JM (voice-over): Rwanda was supposed to be on its way to peace in 1993, after an agreement between its Hutu-dominated government and Tutsi rebels. Peacekeepers were deployed to oversee it. But there seemed to be no great enthusiasm within the UN for the mission; 23 Pakistanis and 18 Americans had died that year, on another mission, in Somalia. The UN went into Rwanda determined to avoid a similar disaster. What it got is incomparably worse.
The Canadian general who led the peacekeepers communicated his fears in a message that reached Kofi Annan, then Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
Philip Gourevitch, Journalist:: It said, Listen, I've got this informant here who's very highly placed, and he's telling me that he's training men to kill Tutsis. He's registering every Tutsi in the greater area of Kigali. He's caching weapons. Weapons are being acquired. And the famous parts of his fax are, he says he believes it is for their extermination, the extermination of Tutsis.
JM: Three months later, that's what happened: weeks of undisguised mass murder witnessed by UN peacekeepers under orders not to intervene. Belgium had peacekeepers in Rwanda, but withdrew them, fearing for the soldiers' safety.
The Secretary-General at the time, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, began looking for someone -- for anyone -- to send in more soldiers. But the country best equipped to do it -- the United States -- refused and pushed for the very opposite: to have all of the peacekeepers withdrawn. The Security Council essentially agreed and voted to cut the mission to just 270 men.
A month later, it reversed itself and authorized thousands more men, but 600,000, perhaps 1 million, people were killed by the time French troops eventually went in.
[videotape of swearing in of Kofi Annan as Secretary-General]
JM: In 1997, Kofi Annan became UN Secretary-General. He commissioned an internal study to find out how the world body let the genocide happen. The report blamed just about everyone in the organization.
Ingvar Carlsson, Inquiry Chairman: There is one overriding failure which explains why the UN could not stop or prevent the genocide, and that is a lack of resources and a lack of will.
JM: At a time when the UN had 17 peacekeeping missions in place and 70,000 people deployed around the world, it seemed Rwanda hadn't mattered enough. The day the report was released, Annan apologized, both for himself and his organization.
You apologized, you moved on. Do you still carry it with you?
SG: I think it's difficult to forget what happened. It's difficult not to have hoped that we could have done more, but you can only deploy what you had. In fact, when the crisis hit, we had 200 soldiers on the ground, 200 soldiers in Rwanda, and they were in Kigali, and the genocide was all over the country. And we couldn't get additional troops to go in. And when you look at the number of people who died, both there and what happened in Srebrenica, you search for ways to try and strengthen our institutions and systems: to synthesize governments, to develop the political will, so that we try to avoid at least such incidents in the future.
JM: Can I ask you about your own feelings at the time? Did you ever think of resigning - publicly resigning -- to draw attention or -- you were the head of peacekeeping -- to atone?
SG: I think I would have stepped down if I had thought it would have solved the problem. I don't think my resignation was the issue, and I think we heard former Prime Minister Carlsson on this. I personally spoke to 80 countries. When you refer to the Secretary-General trying to get troops, I met 80 countries, pleading and begging to give us troops to go in.
Would it have been better for me to resign or stay on and fight and try to improve things and try and ensure that tomorrow this is not repeated? I chose the latter, but that's for you to judge.
JM: Madeleine Albright, who we saw in that report, liked to call the United States "the indispensable nation." If the United States had answered that call -- it had the logistics, it had the troops, it had the planes -- it would have been the country to turn to. If the United States alone had been willing to answer your call, do you think you would have saved a lot of those people?
SG: The UN and myself would have saved lots of those people. And in fact, you notice all the ambassadors, everybody, said they had their orders, orders not to intervene, orders from capitals. I'm the only one who's supposed not to have orders. I'm the only one who's supposed not to have bosses -- and I work for them.
JM: How much has what happened stained the UN? How much does it stain the Nobel Peace Prize that you've just received?
SG: I think it was a difficult period for the UN, and I think it's going to take us a while to live it down. On the other hand, I think we need to keep hope alive, we need to strive to do better. We need to strive to make sure that tomorrow, if we confront this sort of an operation, the organization is ready.
At the end of World War II, we said never again. Yet we've seen it twice since World War II -- or three times, if you count Cambodia.
JM: And yet those things are history. Rwanda isn't quite history because there's an international war crimes tribunal at work, a UN tribunal…
SG: That's correct.
JM: …that it would seem -- is a disaster. It was established seven years ago. It's had four years of trials. I think maybe a dozen verdicts have come in - correct me if I've got the math wrong -- $90 million a year, staff of 800, moving slowly, slowly -- so slowly that one wonders if justice is being done. And every step of the way it seems there are scandals. Like they found out recently that some of their paid investigators were, in fact, war crime suspects, men wanted for genocide, in the employ of the tribunal itself.
SG: I don't think the Tribunal went out of its way to employ criminals. Some may have slipped through the cracks. And they have really tried to clean up. But let me also set the record straight that these tribunals are very complex. They are [inaudible]. You set it up, you go through all sorts of linguistic barriers to get it done. Yes, they haven't convicted as many people as one would expect in national courts, which is sometimes easier and much more cohesive. But when you look in history, in all these kinds of tribunals, in Nuremberg, you don't get mass convictions. You go for the leaders, set an example, send a message that impunity would not be allowed to stand. Ideally, if some of the governments concerned had good courts at home -- national courts -- some of these cases would have been transferred to the national courts, with international tribunals focusing on the leaders and the key people. It's time consuming, and it is not a mass-sort of a trial approach. In fact, the history of Nuremberg will confirm this, and other trials of this nature.
We are trying to improve the situation. In fact, several ad hoc chambers have been opened, both in the case of the tribunal for Yugoslavia, and we are looking at that for Rwanda, so that many more chambers could sit at the same time and accelerate the process.
JM: We'll be back in a moment.
JM: Welcome back.
We're in the final weeks of Kofi Annan's first term as Secretary-General. His next -- his second -- term begins on January 1.
Your biggest problems are probably already on your desk: Afghanistan, nation-building, some of the things we've talked about.
Let's talk about some of the other things because, what happens is we get a sense that the United Nations is there when there's an emergency on the front page. And I think part of what the work you've done is to try and draw our attention to the stories that are on the back page.
Let me ask you about your priorities. There was, first of all, the discussion - and this is looking far ahead -- that it might be possible to help the poorest people in the world by reducing, I think -- tell me if the numbers are right here -- by the year 2015, the number of people who are living on $1 per day.
SG: By 50 percent.
SG: By 50 percent, and that will require that we all work together. That will require a substantial increase in overseas development assistance. It will require more effective action on debt relief. It will require the governments of the recipient countries to do something about corruption, to strengthen their institutions, set up regulatory systems -- and we are working with them -- and find ways and means of also attracting investments and bringing in companies that have the management, the technology, to work with them.
And the heads of states and government who met at the Millennium Summit committed themselves to working together to ensure that we achieve that objective. The other one was to stop the spread of AIDS and really take effective action to treat those who are infected, to search for a vaccine, and to avoid the [mother-to-child] transmission, which is a the cruellest of it all.
JM: How many people live on less than $1 a day now?
SG: On less than $1 a day you have about a billion.
JM: One billion?
SG: Yes, and less than $2 per day, you are talking about 2 billion to 3 billion people, on less than $2 per day.
JM: Now that goal was set for 15 years hence. The last thing I saw from the United Nations is that's not even going to be possible.
SG: That is not going to be possible unless you manage to get in substantial assistance and also lift the growth levels in all these countries to about 5 percent a year. And we have given the member states a road map, and I'm going to give them an annual report each year indicating how well we are doing, where we are succeeding, where we have fallen behind, and why.
JM: This brings us to Afghanistan, in an odd way. You began a very moving speech -- your Nobel lecture today -- with reference to what the world owes to an Afghan girl, that the rest of it really can be measured in what we deliver to an Afghan girl. The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, had the idea that the mistreatment of women in Afghanistan has to end and that women have to be not only treated fairly, they have to be represented in government. And just a short time ago, I think at a meeting in Brussels, she and the European Union's Social Affairs Commissioner set the standard that if there isn't fair representation in government, if there aren't rights for women, that aid should be withheld.
Let me ask you about that, the idea of linking aid to a country that's in the midst of a famine, emerging from 23 years of war, and trying to tie that to the measurements you have set - one Afghan girl and the opportunities she can expect.
SG: That statement is not the policy of the UN, nor my policy.
JM: Is it a good policy?
SG: I wouldn't say that it's a policy I would subscribe to, but let me put it this way: If you condition assistance to a whole population on that kind of criteria, you are probably likely to compound the problem and make it worse. We are trying to get the Afghan leaders to bring in women into positions of leadership. At the Bonn Conference, we've managed to get five of them there, and we're going to work hard on them to bring in more.
The decision is theirs. It is the Afghans who are going to run Afghanistan. We can encourage them, we can cajole, we can convince, we can persuade -- we cannot impose decisions on them. And if because they are not doing something that we think they should do we're going to punish the whole population, then we also become complacent in the suffering the population has had over these years.
On our own staff, we are going to recruit lots of women. In fact, recently, we recruited 2,200 women to do a census for us in Kabul, or the World Food Programme did.. We have women on our staff. We had some very moving scenes where the High Commissioner for Refugees received seven women who have not been able to work for five years because the Taliban said women cannot work. After the Taliban fell, they suddenly appeared in the office and said, 'We are back, we are here, we're coming back to work.' And we put them to work. And they were as excited as we were to have them back.
And in our own recruitment, we are going to set example by recruiting quite a lot of Afghan women, and we will press the Afghan leaders to follow our example. But beyond that, the decisions are theirs, and I would hope we would not condition our efforts, in that we need to engage them, we need to work with them, we need to convince them. And I think of a time when the Afghan women who in the past had played a role will come to play an important role again, and I think all the aid donors are going to push for effective participation in Afghanistan life by women.
JM: We'll take a break. We're going to talk more in a moment.
JM: Welcome back. We have just a few moments. I want to ask this question, because we've been talking about other peoples' problems that end up on your desk, and we've been talking about your plans. How much of your job are you in charge of, and to what extent is your job in charge of you? Do you come in in the morning knowing what you're going to do, or do you come in with a stack of problems that have arisen overnight and just try to work through the first 1 or 2 inches before the day is done?
SG: You usually I go in in the morning with an idea of exactly what you want to do, and you usually have an idea of the issues on your desk or that you're juggling at that particular time. But what you do not know is what is going to develop next. Take the 11th of September. We had breakfast, and I told my wife, I told Nane, I should be going. And as I was walking out of the door, a call came through. It was a call from the UN security saying 'stay home, there has been an accident, and we will let you know when to come to the office.'
I went to the office later. But then we saw what had happened. And the whole organization got mobilized to respond to this. So for the next couple of days or a week, everything else was on the back burner, for the Security Council and for the General Assembly, but there were people in other parts of the world who were waiting for decisions on some other crises that we had to carry on with as well.
And so, as much as you would want to control your day -- and by and large, one could, but there are events that you cannot control -- unexpected things happen, and they push everything else out for awhile.
JM: Let me ask you about something you've probably thought about, or maybe you can think about now, for us: $1 million -- or nearly $1 million has been awarded to you and to the United Nations. You get half of it. Where's your half going?
SG: What we've decided to do is to pool the money and do one big project. We have also some ideas that I'm going to discuss with the President of the General Assembly and decide, ideas from helping children of those who've lost their lives in cause of peace, or a lecture series that will help the UN and the community think of emerging issues and how we should prepare to respond. And there are other ideas, but when the member states and their Ambassadors came to me and said, 'Great, we are all Nobel laureates,' I said, 'Yes, you are, but we will keep the money for the benefit of the organization.'
JM: I envisioned 189 countries arguing over this on the Security Council floor. That's why I was going to ask.
SG: No, no, I think we are going to keep it in a single pool, and I think we will try to find a very simple process of decision-making. I will consult with some of the key chairmen of the committees, and then we'll go ahead and do that.
JM: Kofi Annan, thank you very much.
Let me ask you to congratulate a remarkable man, a remarkable organization: the United Nations and its Secretary-General, laureates of the Nobel Prize for Peace for the year 2001.
Press conference at Nobel Institute, Oslo, 9 December 2001 (unofficial transcript)
SG: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It's a great pleasure for me to be back in Oslo so soon after my wife and I had a wonderful visit here last August. And of course, it's a tremendous honour to be here as the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in its centenary year.
As you know, the Prize has been awarded in two equal parts, to myself and to the United Nations as such. The President of the General Assembly, who is here with us, the General Assembly is the body which represents all the 189 Member States on the basis of sovereign equality, and the President is here to receive the Prize on behalf of the Organization. He has also graciously agreed that there should be a single Lecture, which I will deliver at the ceremony tomorrow, but at this press conference he will speak for the United Nations as a whole.
Speaking for myself, I can only say that I am humbled by this great honour. I never expected or imagined that I could share a pedestal with such heroes of the struggle for peaceful change as Martin Luther King, or Aung San Suu Kyi, or Nelson Mandela. Any achievements I can claim are certainly not mine alone, but the fruit of remarkable teamwork and dedication, dedication on the part of many colleagues on the UN staff and in our missions around the world.
Those missions are as difficult and as dangerous today as they have ever been. We face enormous challenges in the weeks and months ahead - not least in Afghanistan, where the agreement reached in Bonn last week makes great demands on the United Nations.
It seems almost indecent to be accepting a prize for peace, when peace and security are still denied to so many people in different parts of the world - especially on my own continent of Africa, and in the Middle East.
I am particularly sorry that Mr. Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres are not able to join us. I had hoped that they would be here, so that we could discuss ways of helping the peace process by giving more and generous economic assistance to the Palestinian population, and indeed a conference had been planned here for that purpose.
But alas, the terrible violence of the past week means that their efforts are even more urgently needed on the ground. They are working with representatives of the international community, including the great Norwegian peacemaker, Terje Roed-Larsen - who is my special representative in the region - in a desperate effort to salvage the peace process and haul both sides back from an even deadly escalation. We must all pray for their success.
Let me now give the floor to the President of the General Assembly, and then we will both take your questions.
Thank you very much.
President of the General Assembly: Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by saying that it is a great honour for me to accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the United Nations Organization. On behalf of the entire family of the United Nations, I would like to thank the Nobel Committee and the people of Norway for choosing the United Nations as this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner.
I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who shares this year's prize with the United Nations, for his many devoted contributions to promoting world peace and to improving and strengthening our organization.
Various United Nations bodies have received the Nobel Peace Prize in the past, but never the United Nations as such in the 55 years of its existence. Perhaps, by its very nature, the United Nations is the kind of organization whose achievements are cumulative, becoming increasingly apparent over time.
In the work of our organization, there are often long fallow periods before the seeds that are planted bring forth a bountiful harvest. Also, much of our most productive work takes place far from the media spotlight. Except in the case of some peace-keeping operations, it is rare that a United Nations-related story would make the front page or lead a news broadcast.
Yet I believe that in the past five-and-a-half decades the United Nations has had a more profound effect on the lives of hundreds of millions of human beings than even the most dramatic news stories. It is this long-term achievement that is being recognized this year by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
At the same time, I have no doubt that the award is meant to offer encouragement to the men and women of the United Nations in carrying out their work. Such encouragement will be especially welcome to the thousands of United Nations personnel who serve under extremely difficult conditions, often at grave physical risk to themselves.
The most famous of these was, of course, the second Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold, who was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961. But there have been many others who preceded and followed him.
As a result of this year's award, the United Nations will be further encouraged to serve as a beacon illuminating the way forward for the international community as it rises to confront new challenges in the 21st century.
As you know, this year's General Assembly session has been a quite extraordinary one as a result of the tragic events of 11 September. Nevertheless, I believe we have successfully managed the work of the session through the dedication and perseverance of all concerned. In particular, the General Debate, although delayed from September to November, was successfully completed with the participation of a total of 188 speakers, including 42 Heads of State and Government, nine Deputy Prime Ministers and 96 Foreign Ministers.
However, our mission in this Session is not yet finished. In response to the unprecedented nature and magnitude of the terrorist attacks against the United States in September, the United Nations is playing a central role in addressing this challenge. Most importantly, the General Assembly and the Security Council have worked hard to coordinate their efforts in combating international terrorism. And we will continue to do so until the very end of the Session.
Lastly I would like to thank our Norwegian hosts for their gracious hospitality. And thank you for your time and attention.
Q: Alisdair Doyle, Reuters: I would like to ask the Secretary-General, please. Last week you said that the world needed a more creative approach to the Middle East. I wonder if you have any more thoughts about what that solution could be please.
SG: I am extremely concerned about the situation in the Middle East, as many of you here in this room are. I think for over a year now the parties have been trying to end the conflict. They both accepted the Mitchell Peace Plan and yet we've not been able to see much progress on the ground. I have been in touch with others leaders and other organizations which are actively involved in this crisis, particularly with the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and myself, and also working with other Arab leaders. And I think the parties alone cannot do it themselves, they need help from a third party and in this case I believe it has to be a collective international effort. And this is why for sometime now I have been working with the parties that I have mentioned for us to pool our efforts and find a way of helping the parties get back from the brink. We have exchanged some ideas, we are in constant discussions, but I cannot say that at this stage we have decided on concrete action to be taken. What has encouraged me is also the greater involvement of Washington, which has had General (Anthony) Zinni on the ground with William Burns and that also signals a determination to get much more actively engaged and we will work with them. But we are searching for the timing and also concrete action that should be taken. But I maintain my position that the parties alone cannot do it and we need as an international community to help them and I believe down the line it will take a collective international initiative and action to bring stability to the region.
Q: Christian Jørgensen, Morgenbladet, Iceland: Secretary-General, there are those who say that UNMIK is going to be in charge in Kosovo for many decades to come. If they are right and if Afghanistan is going to be a similar assignment, how will this affect the future of the United Nations?
SG: Let me - I know that some of these operations can go on for a while. I do not know how long we will be in Kosovo. We have just organized elections leading to internal independence. The question of the final status of Kosovo is yet to be tackled, and I think in due course the international community will focus on that. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, I think it's a very complex and a difficult situation and I believe it is going to require the involvement of the international community for a long time to come. And here I am not referring only to the humanitarian situation but the political development on the ground, as the assistance we are going to give to the Afghans to establish a stable state, an Afghan society with a stable administration that is loyal to the people, that honours its commitments to the international community and its neighbours, an Afghan government that is determined to ensure that the average Afghan woman and man have their rights respected, particularly the women. And I believe if we all pursue this objective, not just the Afghan factions but also the neighbours, we cannot support without the support of the neighbours, and the neighbours accepting that the government of Afghanistan needs to be loyal to the Afghan people and not necessarily to one or the other of the neighbours. We will then get involved in recovery and reconstruction and that I think is going to be a very long term process, perhaps as much as ten years. My only hope is that the political will to help the Afghan people will be sustained over the period and that our attention will not wander and that Afghans will be forgotten and the UN will be in there struggling to do what it can without the material and political support.
Q: …. from Development Today: I have a question to the Secretary-General about the reform process in the UN. You have carried out a reform of the UN agencies especially focusing on improved coordination and efficiency in the field. A fresh Nordic assessment of UN reform concludes that this is moving very slowly. What will you do to speed up the process and how do you characterize the Nordic role in the UN reform process?
SG: I think the reform of an organization such as ours is always a complex and sometimes a slow process, but what is important is we all recognize that reform is a process and not be an event and that you have to look at it over time, and the search for excellence is an ongoing process. We've made some progress, we've made considerable progress, but I would not say that we are there yet. I think at the country level, in any particular country, I can say today that the UN agencies are working much better together; they are working much more cohesively, pooling their efforts in any particular country to have greater impact on the problems and the developments of the countries concerned. You refer to the Nordic role. We have received support from Nordic governments, who have been very concerned about effective delivery of development assistance and also concerned that institutions in the developing countries be strengthened to enable them to play an effective role in the development of their countries and also to be able to attract other investors and other sources of funding so we have had quite a lot of support from Nordic countries and Nordic development ministries and we hope that will also continue.
Q: Pierre …. , Agence France Presse: My question goes to the Secretary-General. Back to Afghanistan. I would like to be updated about the international force. Do you have a timetable? Do you know who is going to be in command?
SG: The Member States of the Security Council are still discussing the issue of the international force. We have several countries who have indicated willingness to participate in the force. Eventually the Security Council will perhaps adopt a resolution authorizing the force. I expect the force to be a multinational one, a coalition of the willing, as it were, with a lead nation moving into Afghanistan to ensure we have the secure environment, initially in Kabul and other cities to allow us to carry out our work in the humanitarian field, to assist the incoming, the new administration in Kabul to carry out its mandate. Assist in the sense of ensuring that the environment is secure enough for them to operate, and I think it would also help the humanitarian situation, because for the moment we are able to get a reasonable amount of food into Afghanistan, but delivery has become a problem. We cannot distribute because of banditry and insecurity, and I would hope that the presence of the forces would help. As to timing, I am not in a position to indicate exactly when the forces will get in. The new administration is to take over in Kabul on the 22nd of December, so that is a target date. Whether the forces will be there before then is a bit early to say because some crucial decisions - it depends on countries of the Security Council - have not been taken. But I would expect within the next week or so for us to have some clearer ideas as to how the force is going to be put together, who is likely to participate and when they will arrive on the ground.
Q: Karl Bergström, Swedish Television: Mr. Secretary-General, is the overthrow of the Talibans in Afghanistan enough to justify the war, or is it a failure as long as Osama bin Laden has not been caught?
SG: Let me answer your question in a broader context. I think we are all confronted with a struggle against terrorism. In that struggle the United Nations has a very important role to play, and I think the United Nations is laying the foundation for the long-term struggle against terrorists. The foundation can be found in the resolutions of the Security Council, particularly Resolution 1373, which requires that governments do not harbour terrorists, do not give them financial support and that governments share intelligence and information, and it is mandatory and it applies to all the 189 Member States and in that sense it is an historic and very important Resolution, which will require cooperation across borders to fight terrorism. On top of that, the General Assembly has approved twelve protocols and conventions dealing with international terrorism which gives us a common legal framework in the fight against terrorism. I think in the long term this is how we are going to defeat the terrorism, by cooperation across borders. We win the fight by cooperating fully amongst nations, or we don't win it at all. The action in Afghanistan is part of that struggle and perhaps the most dramatic part of it, but in the scheme of things I see it as a very short term effort. Yes, the Council Resolution did indicate that the perpetrators of the 11 September attack should be brought to justice and if bin Laden and some of his supporters are caught and brought to justice, in line with the Resolution, it would be fulfillment of that mandate. But really when we talk about fight against terrorism, it's a much broader fight and it's a long term proposition and I think it has to be based on the Resolutions of the Council and the protocols that have been endorsed. And let me repeat, we can only succeed if we cooperate across borders and cooperate fully, or we will not succeed at all.
Q: Ole Bertelsen, Netavisen, Norway. A question for the Secretary-General: As a follow up on the questions regarding Afghanistan, you mentioned that the fight against terrorism - in that fight - that the UN will have a very significant role as a cooperating body, but with the situation in Afghanistan as it is now, are you not afraid that the UN will be tied up, as a hostage if you like, and also in terms of the resources necessary to rebuild Afghanistan, with similar actions against terrorism. Thank you.
SG: There is always a risk when you get into a major operation like the one in Afghanistan that attention will be diverted from other parts of the world and other essential issues to Afghanistan. There could be a diversion from other crisis spots or from the fight against poverty or HIV/AIDS to Afghanistan. Would the resources going to Afghanistan be fresh and new money or the transfer of resources from other priority areas to do that? So you raised a very good question here. In my contacts and discussions with governments, I've always tried to remind them that the other crises that existed on the 10th of September are no more urgent today than they were before the attacks, and that we should focus on those as well, whether it's poverty, conflict resolution or the fight against HIV/AIDS. You are right that the UN may be engaged in Afghanistan for a long time, but I would want us to see the UN in a much broader context. The UN should not be seen as only the Secretariat and those who work in the building in New York. The UN should be all governments, should be civil society, should be all of us. And I think if we all focus on the challenges confronting the world today, and we maintain our interest and play a part, and we work in partnership, I think we will have the capacity and the means not only to deal with Afghanistan but to continue working on the other crises we have jointly identified and know exist in the world today.
Q: Associated Press…. : Mr. Annan, I trust from the address you gave at the beginning that there is no truth to the rumours that you asked Arafat not to come to this meeting after Peres turned down the visit. And if you would like to comment on that, my actual question would be, do you not feel at all uneasy accepting the Peace Prize when there are so many conflicts around the world, especially a bloody one in the Middle East and the Afghanistan bombings? Thank you.
SG: I did indicate that I was sorry that both Arafat and Shimon Peres were not here, because if they had come we would have had a chance to discuss the situation on the ground and in fact a meeting had been arranged for precisely that purpose. And I also indicated that it seems rather odd to be receiving a peace prize at a time when we have so many conflicts in the world. But I think that also exemplifies the world we live in. The good and the evil unfortunately live side by side. Conflicts will be here with us. What is important is that we do not lose hope and we have the courage to keep working to end conflicts. And I believe this is also the message from the Nobel Peace Committee, that it has given us hope, courage and urging us to move ahead as hard as we can to confront these conflicts. And I think in that spirit we have been given a real challenge and we're going to keep at it.
Q: Atle…, Norwegian Daily, Bergenske Tidende: You said in your first answer that that the timing must be right to intervene in the Middle East, but isn't time running out in that conflict?
SG: I think when you talk of time running out in that conflict, I think in a sense once violence has exploded to the extent that it has one can always say that we missed an opportunity to stop the explosion. And indeed peace in the Middle East is perhaps as urgent today, if not even more urgent. When I referred to timing, I had in mind, I was referring to a collective international action when everyone is ready for us to really move forward in unison to encourage the parties to stop the fighting and come to the table. And I've also noticed in these conflicts it is when the whole international community acts with unity and as one that we are often able to have the right impact on the crisis. And we saw this in Bosnia and in other situations, and I'm hoping that collective effort would also yield results in the Middle East.
Q: .. Radio Free Asia: You mentioned Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in your statement, and your special envoy has just returned from Burma, Mr. [Ismael] Razali. Can you elaborate on the progress he has made with his mediation in Burma, please?
SG: I think Mr. Razali has made quite a bit of progress. The parties are talking. Not only are they talking, many prisoners of war have been released and we expect the releases to continue. We would hope that the time would come when both parties will have sufficient confidence in the process to say something publicly to the people and to the world, but I am encouraged by the developments and I am waiting for a full report from Mr. Razali once he's able to get it to me.
Q: …. Norwegian Television: It was said yesterday that expanding the war on terrorism on to other states would be a disaster. Do you agree with that term "disaster"?
SG: I think that links up with the question which was raised earlier, about the war in Afghanistan. I have had the chance to say when there was comments about perhaps taking the war on terrorism to Iraq that any attempt or any decision to attack Iraq today will be unwise and that it can lead to major escalation in the region and I would hope that would not be the case. The Council and all of us in the UN and particularly the resolution I referred to has indicated that the perpetrators of the 11 September attack should be brought to justice and I suspect that most of the efforts will be on that. Any attempt to take military action in other parts of the world would be something that the Security Council will have to take up. The Council has not authorized any such action. And this is why I have also stressed the nature, the long-term nature of the fight which will have to be based on cooperation, exchange of intelligence and really trying to ensure that terrorists have no refuge in any of our countries.
Q: The Nation Newspaper, Bangkok: During our symposium here in Oslo, some of the Laureates have mentioned that the hope for peace and safety in the world in the future lies more with the civil society than with the UN - or the nation states. How do you reflect on such remarks?
SG: I think we are living in a world where we all have to pool our efforts to tackle the challenges we face today. Just as I have indicated in the past that governments alone cannot do it and that the UN can't do it alone, I am not sure it to be right to say that civil society alone can do it. What is required is for us to work in partnerships, partnerships between governments, civil society, international organizations like the one I'm privileged to head and the private sector. And I think by working together in partnership, not only do we expand our capacity, we bring our collective effort to bear on whatever problem we decide to tackle. So I will speak for partnerships rather than monopoly of a civil society tackling these issues. And I don't think civil society would want it that way either.
Q: "Ungdoms Avisen" (Youth's Newspaper) How can you, who sees their families and friends get killed in war, be able to forgive and even help to make peace in this world?
SG: And here you're talking about the population on both sides? How can they forgive each other and make peace, given what has happened and given the depth of this trust and enmity? I think you have forces of goodwill in both communities. You have forces in both communities that are pushing for peace, who realize that the ultimate solution is a political one and that there is no solution through military means. I think we also need to enhance education and exchange and really get people to accept that, if we are going to have peace, we need to pull away from using extreme means and in effect when they get back to the table. I hope they will stay at the negotiating table and talk and get out the message through being at the table that we have made a strategic choice for peace and we are going to stick with it. At the same time obviously they would want to deal with the terrorists as strictly and as severely as is necessary. But if you stay at the table and keep talking you are telling the terrorists we are not giving you a veto, you are not going to derail the process with all your extreme activities. And I would hope that sooner or later we would get to the stage where the leaders would opt for that approach and I can assure you that they will have the support of the people of goodwill in both communities. But it will require leadership and it will require determination to confront the extremist elements.
Q: Associated Press: I am just going back to the question about Mr. Arafat. Can you confirm that Mr. Arafat - that there was no reason to believe that he was not asked to the ceremony this week, on Monday?
SG: I don't know if that is entirely correct that he was not asked. I think that he was invited and I think he was expected here in Oslo, and indeed there would have been a meeting, as I said, with Peres, myself, the Prime Minister, about this. I think it is not surprising that he is not here, given what is happening on the ground. I think it is important that he stays home with his people and tries to deal with the crisis that is on hand, and obviously it is a situation that has prevented him from coming, and in my judgement, as much as we miss him here, I think it is the right decision to stay home and tackle the crisis at hand.
Press encounter upon arrival in Oslo, Norway, 8 December 2001
Q: So what does it mean for the United Nations that you are receiving the Peace Prize?
SG: For the United Nations it is a great encouragement. It is a message that we have made a contribution and that we should do more, and I think it also sends a message out to the rest of the world that this is a unique, indispensable Organization and that the Member States and the peoples of the world must use it, this Organization. We are there for that and we want to work with them.
Q: Are you visiting the mountains this time?
SG: Not this time.
Mrs. A: Perhaps, perhaps.
Press encounter with Elmo of Sesame Street, New York, 6 December (unofficial transcript)
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you obviously have a very demanding schedule, especially in these times - why make time to appear on Sesame Street?
SG: I think it is wonderful to be able to reach the young, and reach them very early, and try to give them the spirit of the UN - a spirit of understanding, sharing and working together,
[Interruption by Elmo]
Elmo: and love…
SG: …and love, and peace. So you remember when we did it all together when you were fighting?
SG: That was making peace, wasn't that wonderful?
Elmo: It's always wonderful.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, do you think kids in the U.S. know who you are?
SG: Some of them know, some of them know who I am, and I hope many more are going to know me. You will tell your friends about me?
Elmo: Of course. He's going to be on Sesame Street. They will know.
Q: I have a question if I could, for Elmo. What do you think are the biggest problems in the world now, and how do you think the Secretary-General can help solve those problems?
Elmo: Well, what we were talking about. The Secretary-General can go around and give love, isn't that right?
Q: I think love solves lots of problems.
Elmo: A lot of problems.
SG: And when we do things together, and we like each other…
Elmo: …and respect each other.
SG: It is very important, and understand each other.
Elmo: Yeh. [bell rings]
Elmo: Hello! [laughter]
SG: You are smart you know?
Elmo: Well, Elmo is okay. Elmo learned a lot from Big Bird.
SG: Do you want to come and work with me at the United Nations and make peace?
Elmo: Oh Elmo would love to! What would Elmo do?
SG: I think I would take you on some of the peace negotiations when people are fighting. And get them to make peace.
Elmo: Can Elmo wear a tie like that?
SG: Well, yeh, it would help.
Elmo: Okay. Can Elmo win a Nobel Peace Prize too?
SG: If you make lots of peace, and you work hard, and you get people to love each other, you will get a big Nobel peace prize.
Elmo: How long would that take, two days?
SG: It takes a little longer than that, but I know you are capable - you are smart, you are hardworking and you will make it.
Elmo: Well, Elmo tries.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, how important do you think it is for kids to know what's going on in the world? The war, terrorism?
SG: I think it is important for kids to know what is going on in the world, but we have to explain it to them. We have to get them to understand why these terrible things are happening, and what we have to do to avoid them, and be sensitive to what we should teach them, so that when they grow up they don't make some of the mistakes that we all consider are abominable and awful behaviour.
Elmo: Like what happened on September 11th?
Elmo: It was really scary for Elmo, 'cos he kept seeing it over and over again on TV.
SG: Could you sleep, or you couldn't sleep?
SG: All of us have problems, but now we are trying to do something about it.
Elmo: And that's a very good thing.
Q: Are you a big believer in group hugs? [laughter]
SG: You know, there lots of moments when hugs help a lot. When you are out of words and you don't know what to do, and you want to reach out to someone, a hug is the biggest thing you can give. Give him a hug, give him a kiss, shake hands, and it helps. You have noticed, everybody is hugging everybody since this incident. Have you been hugging lots of people?
Elmo: A lot of people. A lot of Elmo's friends all over the world.
Q: What do you think the diplomats and some of the big people in the world can learn from someone like Elmo and his friends?
SG: I think there is a child in each and every one of us. Sometimes I say that is the most charming part of us. And we sometimes forget it. Elmo and his friends will tell us - it's the way they are - they tell it straight. There is innocence, there is purity, there is laughter, and it is very important for us. Keep it simple and it brings you back to earth. I think that is very very important, we all need that.
Elmo: I need love.
SG: You are right. If you love your neighbour you don't quarrel.
Elmo: So, where are you going to put your trophy?
SG: Ah! I think you should come to my house and tell me where to put it, or you can come to my office since you are going to work with me.
Elmo: Elmo thinks you should put it right at the foot of your bed, so every time you get up you can see it. But you have to ask your wife if that's okay.
SG: You met her?
Elmo: Yes, she is very sweet. She likes light blue, doesn't she?
SG: Yes, she does like blue.
Elmo: You come back and visit okay?
SG: I will come and visit.
Elmo: Thank you very much.
SG: And remember what I have been telling you all day? All the things I have taught you, you will remember?
SG: And you will share with your other friends?
Elmo: Of course.
SG: Say "hello" to them for me.
Elmo: Okay. Thank you.
Press encounter following the Security Council meeting on Afghanistan, 6 December (unofficial transcript)
Q: Can we ask you what did you think of the resolution and when do you think a multinational force will be organized?
SG: I think the resolution is a good one and I like the support it gives to their efforts. I think [Lakhdar] Brahimi and his team have done a great job in Bonn. But the difficult task is ahead. We have many hurdles ahead. And we are going to try and do our best, and we expect the Afghan parties to cooperate with us. As far as the multinational force is concerned, as you notice in the agreement, there is a need for one, but the Council will be coming back to that later. I hope not much later because it is an essential part of the agreement.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, after this resolution, practically do you think Afghanistan is really set to have a new administration, having to start a new era of peace?
SG: At least they have a basis for action, a basis to move forward. And Mr. Brahimi will be going back to Kabul and will be able to sit with the parties and discuss practical steps for implementation of the agreement.
Press encounter with CNN upon arrival at UNHQ, 5 December 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Q: ... so the agreement in Germany over Afghanistan.
SG: I think we've made an important first step. And I believe [Lakhdar] Brahimi and the team did a very good job. I'm also pleased that the Afghan parties realized that they had an opportunity to come together and begin to rebuild their country. Now that they have agreed on the interim administration, I would expect them to go back to Kabul and work very, very closely together. Because it is only by pooling their efforts and cooperating with each other that they can begin to rebuild their country and encourage the international community to come in and help them. Because what is at stake is the future of their people, their country, and their nation. And if there is a reliable government and a serious partner, I'm sure the international community will work with them on reconstruction.
Q: Sounds like you have Baghdad on your mind. Anything we should know about?
SG: No, I know there's a lot in the papers these days, but I have nothing to tell you on Baghdad. I want to focus on Afghanistan.
Q: The Mid-East - not so well there. Who's at fault? What can be done now? You've issued hundreds of statements asking for an end to the cycle of violence.
SG: I think we are all concerned about the developments in the Middle East. And I'm in touch with many leaders around the world. And I think what is important is that we get the parties to pull back from the brink and really get them back to the table. I know there is a sense that we need to get the violence down. We need to have several days of peace before we get to the table, but we've been insisting on this for over a year. And that hasn't happened. So we need to do something different. We have to be creative and find a way of getting them to the table. My own sense is that it is when the killing is going on, when people are being shot at, when families are grieving for the dead, that you need to get to the table. It becomes even more urgent and I would hope that the efforts that are being made both by the US government, the Europeans, the Russians, and my team on the ground, and other governments will yield the results that we are all seeking.
Q: War in the Middle East, war in Afghanistan. You're going to accept the 100th Nobel Peace Prize. Interesting timing. Will you try on capitalize on the event?
SG: Well, I think it shows what a messy world we live in and that the question of war and peace is always with us. But we should never lose hope and we should keep trying to calm the situation and get peace. Without hope, without dreams, we are finished.
Press encounter with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Washington, 28 November 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Colin Powell: Well, good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. It's been my pleasure to receive once again Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has been here in the course of the day to meet with President Bush, to receive a number of awards in the course of the day befitting the contributions that he has made to peace and humankind, and we are especially pleased to have him in Washington, just about on the eve of his departure for Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Price. And, once again, Mr. Secretary General, congratulations.
We have had a chance to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and to talk about not just the military campaign but the humanitarian effort that we are all committed to, the reconstruction effort that we are all committed to, and to review the progress of the discussions in Bonn with respect to the creation of a provisional government. Those talks seem to be going reasonably well in their second day.
We also talked about other areas of interest, especially the Middle East, and the usual range of issues that the Secretary-General and I speak of. So I would like to invite him to say a word or two and then we will take a question or two before the Secretary-General has to leave to be up on Capitol Hill by 4 o'clock.
So, Mr. Secretary-General, Kofi, my friend, welcome again.
SG: Thank you very much. I am very happy to be here once again, to be able to continue our usual constructive discussions. We have had a very good exchange. And I think on the talks in Bonn, my only message to the Afghans and the Afghan leaders who are in Bonn, is that they have a unique and historic responsibility to do something for their people who have suffered for far too long not to be given a chance to live in peace and in stability. And that if they seize this moment and form a broad-based government, a broad-based transitional administration, the international community will have a partner to be able to carry out the kinds of programs Secretary Colin Powell has referred to. Because without a credible partner, we are not going to be able to put in the kinds of resources that will be required to develop the country.
So I urge them and plead with them for the sake of their people and their country and the region to show the leadership required and work with Lakhdar Brahimi, my representative, to come up with the right decisions.
Thank you. We will take your questions.
Q: Secretary Powell, has anyone outside of our ilk asked you to explain what exactly the President meant when he said on Monday that Saddam Hussein would just have to wait and see what happens if he doesn't allow weapons inspectors back in? And if they haven't, if they do ask you, what will you tell them?
Colin Powell: I will tell them to listen carefully to what the President said. The President said that the Iraqi regime should allow the UN inspectors back in to complete their very, very important work. And when the President was asked, and what if they don't, what will happen, what he said was, "He'll find out." And I think that's a pretty good statement. I'll leave it stand. I don't think it requires any amplification at this point.
The President and the international community, we all have a full range of options available to us to keep trying to get rid of these programs of weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein has been trying to work on for the last 10 years. But the President's statement seemed to me to be clear, declaratory, and not requiring an amplification. I think everyone understood what he meant.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, would you like the -- this is a question addressed to both of you, if I may -- would you like the parties in Bonn to agree to non-Afghan peacekeepers to be deployed in Afghanistan?
SG: I think obviously we are all looking at the security environment in which we will have to operate, either to deliver humanitarian assistance or for the new administration to assume its responsibilities and carry on the rehabilitation and reconstruction. But this is an issue that I think, as we move forward, we will also discuss with the Afghan leadership as it is emerging.
But I will have to say that we are looking at the security situation which, for the moment, is impeding some of the assistance in certain parts of the north and the south. But we haven't taken any concrete decision as to what sort of security regime should be put in place to secure the environment. We will get to that later.
Colin Powell: Thank you. I've got to get the Secretary-General on his way.
Press encounter with U.S. President George W. Bush, Washington, 28 November 2001 (unofficial transcript)
President Bush: It's my honour to welcome back to the White House our friend, Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Today we've had a valuable discussion about how to make sure that the good intentions of America and others around the world are met. And those intentions have to do with feeding people who starve in Afghanistan.
Prior to September the 11th there was a lot of hunger in that country, primarily because it was run by a government that didn't really care about the human condition. After September the 11th, obviously the war has aggravated the situation, and as I declared to the American people, our good government and our great nation is going to do something about it.
And around the table today are people who are responsible to making sure, as best as they possibly can, food is delivered, and medicine is delivered, and clothing is delivered to innocent, hurting people of Afghanistan.
And the Secretary-General has been so great on this issue, and he's assembled a wonderful team who are here to brief the Secretary of State and myself about the efforts.
The degree of difficulty is high. There's no question we've got a large task ahead of ourselves. We've got ample money, and the United States government has been a major contributor of that money. We've got the food. The fundamental question is, in an environment that is not very secure, how do we get the food to the people. And that's what we're working on. And I'm convinced that we can do a very good job of meeting that objective.
So, Mr. General, thanks for coming. It's an honour to have you back. I appreciate you bringing your team with you.
SG: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for the discussions this morning with my team.
The Afghan people have suffered for quite a long time through a series of wars, and recently, drought. And we've been trying to get food to them. And as the President said, it's not always been easy. Even sometimes when we have the food in the country, we cannot always get it to the needy.
We are now, with the help of the U.S. and other donors, able to get in as much food as we think we will need. But because of the insecurity, we have difficulties reaching the needy and the people, and we are working on that. And I hope the situation will clarify in the not-too-distant future to allow us to reach all those in need.
I think it is important for the public to know the numbers we are dealing with, and here I'm talking about refugees -- Afghan refugees in the neighboring countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, and the internally displaced people.
We are talking about 6 million needy people -- between 6 million to 7.5 million.
We are going to do our best, with the support that we are getting. And I think, on the political front, if I may say a word, we are meeting the Afghan parties in Bonn. Mr. [Lakhdar] Brahimi is discussing with them as we sit here. And so far, they're off to a good start. The parties seem to want a broad-based government, and I hope they will be able to settle this -- the establishment of the government before they leave Bonn.
The willingness of the U.S. and other donor countries and the international community is clear, to work with them in rebuilding their society. But we need a partner, and the partner has to be an effective Afghan government that is cohesive, that is stable, that will work with the donor community to ensure that the resources that are being applied to rehabilitation and reconstruction is used effectively.
The challenge is theirs. They have an historic opportunity to put the past behind them and form a broad-based government that will be loyal to the Afghan people, and respect its international obligations. And if they do that, from all the commitments that I have heard from the President and other leaders, the resources will be there over the period in a sustained manner to help rebuild Afghanistan.
So I urge them to seize the moment for the sake of their people and for the sake of their country.
President Bush: Thank you, Mr. General.
Remarks at the launch of Ambassador Kamalesh Sharma's book "Mille Fleurs: Poetry from around the world", New York, 26 November 2001
Ambassador Sharma, Mr. Pasricha [Confederation of Indian Industry],
The publication of this anthology is a fine tribute to the United Nations Millennium Assembly, and to the very ideal that the United Nations stands for - the belief that we all belong to the same human family. If any language is the mother tongue of our common humanity, it is surely the language of poetry. Poetry, at its best, not only speaks to people. It speaks for them.
Of that, Ambassador Sharma, your book is living proof. By asking representatives of our Member States to submit poems especially meaningful to them and their culture, you have given us all an insight. You have brought home to us that diversity is a gift to be celebrated, and that we are all united by our common humanity far more than we are divided by our separate identities.
When the world's leaders gathered for the Millennium Summit, they identified six fundamental values as essential to international understanding in the twenty-first century, and pledged to translate them into actions. These six values --- freedom; equality; solidarity; tolerance; respect for nature; and shared responsibility -- can all be found in the poems of this anthology. They run like six golden threads through the mille-fleur tapestry of our common humanity. I am grateful to Kamalesh Sharma for helping to weave this sample together. Thank you very much.
Remarks to FIFA/UNICEF event, New York, 20 November 2001
I am delighted to join Sepp Blatter [FIFA President] here today. And I am pleased to welcome all of you to the United Nations for this event, at which we dedicate the 2002 World Cup to the world's children.
After the tragic and troubling events of the past few months, this dedication is a welcome symbol of hope.
Sport is a wonderful way of bringing people together and of mobilizing them to embrace causes bigger than themselves. Football, in particular, brings out a special passion and creates special bonds among the millions of people who play, view and love the game.
That is especially true of young people. Indeed, football could be called a universal language for millions of young people throughout the world.
We are here today because we want to marry that language with the words of hope contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child -- in particular the right of children to play.
Far too many children do not have the means or the support to play and enjoy themselves, to learn healthy ways to compete and exercise their spirits as well as their bodies. We must ensure that they are guaranteed that right, wherever they may live; and that conflict, poverty and disease do not deprive them of it.
I am delighted that the United Nations' alliance with FIFA, first launched on these grounds two years ago, has paved the way for the dedication to children of the 2002 World Cup, with UNICEF as the main partner.
This will benefit young people in a number of ways: by building awareness of the rights of children as expressed in the Convention of the Rights of the Child; by attracting support for campaigns to promote health and education; by launching projects and programmes on the ground to make sports more accessible to more children; and by opening doors to yet more partnerships, with national sports associations and with the private sector.
In this way, our partnership will help send a message to the world to say "yes" for children everywhere, and "yes" to the right of children to play. Surely, there could be no better message to send, loud and clear, to an audience of one billion football lovers who will view the World Cup next year. Thank you very much.
Press conference following a meeting between Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Ottawa, 17 November 2001 (Unofficial transcript)
Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien: Mes chers amis j'étais très heureux de recevoir le secrétaire général cet après-midi, monsieur Annan. Nous avons eu une très bonne discussion - lui, moi et le ministre des Affaires étrangères. It was a good meeting. It was very appropriate for us to meet him today because of the very intensive activities that he is involved in trying to help and to organize a government that will be adequate to face the situation in Afghanistan after the departure of the Taliban. We discussed that. We've discussed G8. We've discussed, you know, the topics of the G8 next summer, the African file and so it's always pleasant to work with him because he's a good friend of Canada and we have always supported the United Nations a hundred percent and he's doing a great job and on behalf of Canadians I want Mr. Secretary-General to congratulate you again for receiving a well-deserved nomination, the Nobel Prize winner and you know the United Nations and yourself deserve it and in particular you because you have been an extremely devoted international public servant and we are very proud to be a friend of you.
SG: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. It is really great to be back here in Canada once again and to have the opportunity of exchanging ideas with you and as the prime minister has said we had a chance to discuss the fight against terrorism and the foundation that the UN is laying against that struggle in the Security Council and with all the conventions that have been approved by the General Assembly which gives us all a common legal framework to fight this scourge. We also talked about the UN's responsibilities in Afghanistan, about one, helping the Afghan leaders form a broad-based interim administration to administer the country until such time that a permanent government will be installed. We are pressing ahead and stepping up our humanitarian activities even though we have some difficulties to ensure that we go through the winter with the capacity and the ability to reach all those in need and of course down the line we will be involved with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country and I think we'll pause here and take your questions since we don't have much time. And Prime Minister, once again let me thank you for your strong support for the United Nations and for what I've been trying to do at the UN and through you the Canadian people for the sustained strong support and the leadership they show at the UN. Thank you.
JC: Thank you, Secretary-General.
Q: Was there any discussion of a long term peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan after the stabilization force and whether or not Canada would be involved in that?
JC: We've discussed what kind of support or groups that will be established there. There is three possibilities. One could be the peacekeeping traditional UN missions. One could be a multinational force and a third one might be a local established one and it is in the process at this moment. As you know, we will be involved in the interim group with the others who are willing to send troops there but there will be a need for a more permanent solution and we've discussed that, the secretary-general and myself and the minister.
Q: (Inaudible) dans quelle façon vous êtes prêt à participer, le Canada pour après là, une fois (inaudible) stabilisé.
JC: Bien à ce moment ici la question ne se pose pas. Chaque fois qu'il y a eu des requêtes qui nous ont été présentées des Nations Unies, la plupart du temps nous avons répondu positivement. Nous ne sommes pas à ce moment ici à ce stage-là encore. Nous sommes participants à l'activité actuelle qui était -- par les Américains et le groupe qui est intervenu en Afghanistan et nous apprêtons à envoyer des troupes sur le terrain à ce moment ici mais pour une solution à moyen et long terme il y en est pas -- il n'est pas question présentement qu'est-ce qui pourrait être la contribution du Canada et est-ce que nous pourrions le faire.
Q: Do you know how much the reconstruction campaign in Afghanistan is going to cost and how should such a campaign be administered?
SG: I cannot give you a figure of how much the reconstruction or rehabilitation will cost. What I can tell you, that is going to be a long term effort which will require a sustained political will and the resources required to make it effective. We are beginning to do our planning and in fact on Tuesday, the 20th, there's going to be a meeting in Washington on the issue of reconstruction of Afghanistan where some of the preliminary plans will be discussed. What I can say is whatever plans we come up with is going to be for the long term and we will need lots of resources.
Q: How would you compare it with the Marshall Plan in terms of scope? Is that the kind of scope that you're contemplating?
SG: I will not exclude it.
Q: Monsieur Annan, (inaudible) secrétaire général des Nations Unies, quel est (inaudible) G20 et la place de l'Afrique? Est-ce que l'Afrique a une place dans ce domaine justement?
SG: Il y a un pays africain qui est là. Il y a l'Afrique du Sud et je crois que l'Egypte est là aussi si je ne me trompe pas. Mais en tout cas on aura l'occasion de discuter des problèmes africains parce qu'ils sont là pour discuter la pauvreté, la question des financements du développement et tout ça touche l'Afrique. Donc même si les pays africains ne sont pas là, les problèmes seront discutés.
Q: What impact do you think that the return of President Rabbani will have on building a coalition government in Afghanistan?
SG: Well, we would -- we are trying to get all the Afghan parties together and by the Afghan parties I mean the Northern Alliance, the group in Rome with (inaudible), the group in Cyprus and the Peshawar group that met in Pakistan. Obviously we hope all Afghan parties and leaders will understand the need to form a broad-based government and set up an administration in Kabul that will be acceptable by all. If they do not do that and one group tries to control power and assert itself, it is going to create problems down the line and I would hope that Mr. Rabbani also is aware of this since he knows intimately the history of his own country. So we will be pressing ahead trying to get them to discuss a broad-based government in which power will be shared by all the groups and I would hope everyone will cooperate.
JC: The last question.
Q: Prime Minister, are we spreading our troops too thin by going to Afghanistan, a thousand people and then maybe peacekeeping after?
JC:No. You know we do what we can do. We have the troops to do what has been needed and all the time we have been able to do the job and the Canadian soldiers have always done an excellent job wherever they are invited to go. And yes, we're sending one thousand more to Afghanistan and I'm sure that they will perform extremely well and we'll be very proud of them. Merci beaucoup. Thank you very much.
SG: Thank you.
Press encounter following adoption of Security Council resolution 1378 on Afghanistan, 14 November 2001 (unofficial transcript)
SG: I think the [Security] Council, once again, has acted very quickly, and we have a formal basis for moving forward. We have done quite a bit of contingency planning and now Mr. Brahimi is doing his best to bring the parties together as quickly as we can. We are beginning to send our staff back into Afghanistan to continue their humanitarian and other work and to provide whatever service and assistance that we can provide. So in the next few days you will see the UN staff streaming back into Afghanistan to do their work.
Of course, we never stopped our work. We have a very large Afghan staff who had maintained the operations. I think we are going to have to rely on them, and increase the number of staff that we have. As we recruit new staff, I hope we will be able to recruit as many women as possible to join the ranks of UN staff.
Q: Mr. Vendrell [is going into Kabul when?]
SG: Yes, he should be there by Friday, with about a little over a dozen, or about 17 of them will be going in on Friday.
Q: Seventeen what?
SG: Of UN staff.
Q: En francais, quel est l'importance de cette resolution?
SG: Je viens de repondre.
Q: What about security, who's going to handle that? Isn't that going to be a problem?
SG: Well, I think the coalition, I hope, given their contacts with the Northern Alliance, can make some interim, short-term arrangements to permit us to continue with our work. I think the situation in some of the cities from the reports reaching us is under control and I hope that things will clarify as we move forward. But since we do not have any military presence on the ground, we will have to rely on those who are on the ground. Thank you very much.
Press encounter following meeting with H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, Chancellor and Head of the Foreign Affairs Department of Switzerland, UNHQ, 13 November 2001 (unofficial transcript)
I've had a very good discussion with the Foreign Minister. We've discussed the situation in Afghanistan. We've discussed the struggle against terrorism, and all the international effort and the cooperation to contain the terrorists and the initiatives the Swiss government is taking in this area. We also discussed the very good work the Swiss authorities have done in [the] area of smart sanctions and bringing some clarity on to this very difficult issue. I also had the chance to discuss the intended holding of the Davos Economic Summit here in New York. And of course we were able to discuss Swiss-UN relationship, and the Minister has offered humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people as the winter sets in and their needs become desperate.
Press encounter with Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, UNHQ, 12 November 2001 (unofficial transcript)
SG: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We have just had a very good meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, where we assessed the fast-evolving situation and talked about the humanitarian, the political [situations] and the need to form a broad-based Afghan government. Mr. Brahimi was able to brief the ministers on his recent trip to the region, and the progress that has been made. The group stressed the need for speed, and that, as things are moving very fast, we need to try and bring the political aspects in line with the military developments on the ground.
Mr. Brahimi will be continuing his efforts. The ministers expressed full support for the work that Brahimi and myself are doing and we will continue our work. We have also agreed a Declaration, which Mr. Brahimi will read to you later, and we will make it available, and he will be able to take your detailed questions.
I will take a few questions and then will rush to the Security Council where we have a meeting on terrorism.
Q: You talk about progress, what progress is there?
SG: I am talking about progress in discussions with the Afghan parties, which we are going to accelerate, and Mr. Brahimi will step up his work in consulting the Afghan parties and promote the idea of a broad-based Afghan government. Obviously we need to get them together and to move as quickly as possible.
Q: Are you concerned that events on the ground are moving so fast that what you are trying to do here is going to be too late?
SG: We have always been aware that when you get into these kinds of operations things can move very fast and sometimes can get stuck. In fact, in the early days of the crisis, when the [Security] Council discussed this issue, I used the word, we would have to be nimble, we would have to be able to move quickly and we would have to be flexible, and I think we are at that stage where the nimbleness is going to come into play.
Mr. Brahimi will speak.
LB: I don't think you need me to read the Declaration.
What I would like to say, simply, is that this Declaration reaffirms the desire or the will of these countries to work together in support of what the United Nations is going to do. I hope that, because of these developments on the ground, we are going to try, as soon as possible, to get a, hopefully, a representative sample of the Afghan population together, and see what kind of interim arrangements we can work together for Kabul.
Q: Where will they be taking place, Sir?
LB: I don't know yet.
LB: We are going to discuss this in the next couple of days.
Q: What is the timeframe for that meeting, the first meeting?
LB: Very, very soon, I hope.
LB: Days I hope, yes.
Q: Is there any concensus on the timing of the Northern Alliance's progress towards Kabul. Would you like them to hold off until a certain time, or how do you want them to proceed?
LB: No, we are not part of what is happening on the ground.
Q: How helpful are the Iranians in this?
LB: Everybody is very helpful.
Q: Regarding the American Airlines crash, will the rest of the UN meetings continue as scheduled?
LB: I think so.
Q: The Secretary-General talked earlier about the need for speed and to bring the political aspects in line with the current developments. Specifically, on the political side, what political formulation do you see as being the most actionable and quickest to get in there, and what do you see as most appropriate?
LB: Everybody agrees [inaudible] a broad-based government…
Q: We are beyond that now… any specifics to that that you have?
LB: The specifics is that we are going to get people representing the various groups, the various processes together as soon as possible, and don't forget that we have always insisted that this process should be home-grown. It is the Afghans that are going to decide what [inaudible]
Q: That includes the Taliban?
LB: That includes everybody that is willing to participate in this process.
Press Conference, Geneva, 1 November 2001
SG: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. As you know, this is the first time I have been across the Atlantic since the terrible events of 11 September. I believe those events have put a great strain on all of us in New York, and in different ways on people working for the United Nations here in Geneva and around the world. As never before it has made clear that terrorism is a global scourge. The United Nations, I believe, is a natural forum where the States can come together and try and cooperate to fight and provide a global response. And I believe the United Nations has responded well with two resolutions by the Security Council. A resolution that is unprecedented in the sense that it cuts across and touches every Member State. Normally Security Council resolutions are focused on individual countries. Yet they have come up with a resolution requiring Governments to take action not to shelter terrorists, not to allow them to use their financial systems, and to ensure that they do not have logistical support. In addition to that, the Security Council has created a committee that will monitor compliance with that resolution.
And then we have the General Assembly which has already passed 12 Conventions and Protocols, and is working on another one, a comprehensive one against terrorism which I hope they will be able to finalize this year. If they do that, not only is the Council action making specific demands on Member States, but the General Assembly=s action will provide a common legal framework for our struggle against terrorism. And of course as we move on, the United Nations has major responsibilities in Afghanistan. For the time being it is in the humanitarian area where we are trying to do the best we can to ensure that the internally displaced Afghans and the Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries are looked after and have their sustenance as we approach the winter.
In addition to the humanitarian responsibility, it is quite likely that the Security Council may give us an expanded mandate in the sense of requiring me and the Secretariat to use our good offices and encourage Afghans to form a broad-based Government. And depending upon what happens and how things evolve, we may also become engaged in the rehabilitation of the country. There has also been a question of what sort of security environment would any activities take place in after the military action and who would provide or ensure security. Would it be United Nations Blue Helmets, would it be a multinational force, or would it be an all-Afghan force? All these are on the basis of contingency planning and nothing specific or solid.
But let me say that on the humanitarian front -- I know it is of great interest to those of you here in Geneva because most of the humanitarian agencies on the front lines in Afghanistan are based in Geneva -- Ruud Lubbers is currently in the region and he is coming back tomorrow and I expect him to give me a full brief on his understanding of the situation on the ground.
But let me hasten to add that whilst we are all engaged in the struggle against terrorism, the broader agenda of the United Nations continues. We may have new problems, but the old ones are still with us. And here I am talking about poverty, AIDS, conflict, climate change and so forth. These problems are even more important today and I think we should make greater efforts to try and deal with them. We have to try and keep the world=s attention focused on these problems as well as terrorism because these are in some cases the root causes that we will have to tackle. I believe it is important to make sure that people in developing countries have the chance to improve their lives through trade and that is why I am looking forward very much to what happens in Doha very shortly. I hope very much that it will start a new round of trade negotiations in which, for the first time, the developing countries will be able to insist that their interests are given priority.
I think I will pause here and take your questions. That is why you are here. The floor is open.
Q: J'aimerais juste au nom de l'Association des correspondants accrédités auprès des Nations Unies, vous souhaiter la bienvenue à Genève, vous remercier d'avoir trouvé cette fois-ci un peu de temps pour rencontrer les journalistes et puis encore une fois vous féliciter pour le prix Nobel que vous et votre Organisation avez reçu. Merci.
Q: Monsieur le Secrétaire général, je m'associe à mon collègue pour vous féliciter et féliciter les Nations Unies pour ce prix Nobel de la paix cette année. Cela démontre qu'il y a encore des gens qui croient encore que les Nations Unies ont un rôle essentiel à jouer dans ce domaine du maintien de la paix dans le monde. Mais ce qui est gênant, Monsieur le Secrétaire général, c'est que cela arrive au moment où les Nations Unies se font marginaliser dans ce rôle pendant la guerre du Golfe au profit d'une coalition d'États, pendant la guerre du Kosovo au profit d'une alliance militaire et aujourd'hui en Afghanistan au profit d'un État avec un mandat mal défini dans ses limites géographiques et temporelles et même dans la définition de l'ennemi à combattre parce qu'il n'y a pas encore de définition onusienne du terrorisme à ma connaissance. Ma question, Monsieur le Secrétaire général, ne pensez-vous pas qu'il est temps de reposer le problème des moyens mis à la disposition des Nations Unies pour les missions de maintien de la paix pour éviter un dérapage beaucoup plus dangereux à l'avenir et d'éviter que la marginalisation des Nations Unies n'atteigne le secteur dans lequel vous êtes encore efficaces, celui de l'aide humanitaire que les belligérants essaient d'entreprendre aujourd'hui. Je vous remercie. The
SG: That was a long question. But let me say that indeed we are struggling against terrorism and the struggle against terrorism can only be won if there is broad and sustained international cooperation. The struggle against terrorism has to be on a broad front. Countries have to cooperate as the Security Council has indicated in refusing shelter for terrorists, in denying them the use of financial resources, and making sure there is no logistic support. And I believe the actions that the Security Council and the General Assembly have taken provide a solid basis for international action and international cooperation around the globe. And if we do cooperate, I think we will make good progress in the struggle. The military action on which we are focused for the moment in Afghanistan is quite frankly a very small part of the fight against global terrorism. The Council in its resolution indicated that the perpetrators must be brought to justice. And the Council also indicated that all means must be used to prevent attacks of that kind. So when we talk of the fight against terrorism, I would disagree with you that the United Nations is sidelined. In fact, on the key issues, the initiatives and the foundation are being laid by the United Nations.
Focusing specifically on your comments on Afghanistan, it is correct that this operation is being run by the United States and the United Kingdom. It is not a United Nations operation as such, but I think that as we look at the struggle, we have to look at it in all its ramifications. And I think one cannot say that the United Nations is sidelined if one looks at it in that respect. When it comes to peacekeeping operations and the United Nations capacity, you are right that we do not have the capacity; we can be as strong as the Member States would want us to be. Past experiences tell us that we do not always get the sustained political will, or the resources required to undertake these operations. And where they are made available, I think we can make a difference as we have seen in places like East Timor, Cambodia and others.
Q: Monsieur le Secrétaire général, deux questions courtes cette fois, est-ce que vous ne pensez pas que ces bombardements sur l'Afghanistan sont contre-productifs et est-ce que vous, personnellement, vour seriez pour une administration de l'ONU en Afghanistan dans l'après-Taliban.
SG: Obviously for those of us who are involved in humanitarian activities and others, we would want to be able to operate in a much calmer environment. From our point of view the least interruption we have with our operations the better. We do have disruptions from the ground, from the Taliban, where in some cases they have looted our warehouses and interfered with our humanitarian workers. But the air operation is also an impediment. Although we are able to get in some food, I think this is due to the courage of our staff and the truck drivers who are prepared to take the risks. We are going to try and get as much food in as we can. We are not meeting our target. We need about 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes a month and we are doing about half of that. So obviously it will be in our interest to see air action end as soon as possible so that we can step up our deliveries to ensure that we are prepared for the winter.
On your second question, I think the question of a Government or administration of Afghanistan is first and foremost a problem for the Afghan people. They will have to be in the lead and determine what sort of government they want. The United Nations has been working with them over a long period of several years, trying to get them to form a broad-based government; a broad-based government in which all the main ethnic groups will have a say. We believed a long time ago that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict. The solution has to be political and [based on] a power-sharing and broad-based government. We do not know how the situation will evolve. But if a new Afghan Government were to emerge, we are prepared to assist them and work with them and promote a broad-based government. The United Nations will be prepared to assist and give them technical assistance. But at this stage I do not see the UN going in to run Afghanistan as a protectorate.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, do you personally prefer the American bombings to be stopped during the month of Ramadan? And also you have mentioned three possibilities about the possibility for security arrangements, Blue Helmets, a multilateral force or an Afghan force. Have you heard from the Member States any indication that they will be willing to participate in peacekeeping operations?
SG: I think on the question of the air operation, the bombing, I have indicated quite clearly that from our point of view, the sooner it is concluded and we can get on with our humanitarian work, the better. On the question of volunteers for a possible military operation or a security force in Afghanistan, I personally have not received any direct offers from Governments. I have heard names of Governments mentioned. Whether these Governments have offered to send troops or others are volunteering them, at this stage I am not sure.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you have said that the resolutions in New York have expressed the readiness of the United Nations for security peace keeping operations, humanitarian aid and so on. Do you have in your mind an idea when all these will take place. And second, in your personal view, are human rights been violated in Afghanistan - human rights of individuals, the right to development, etc.?
SG: On your first question, the Council has not really got to the stage where they have passed resolutions on the kind of operation that will be necessary in Afghanistan. But there has been some discussion and exchange of ideas on what will be required depending on the evolution of the developments in Afghanistan. On the question of human rights, in situations of this kind and given the history of Afghanistan and our own experience on the ground, yes, there have been human rights violations, but I would hope that that is also something that one can focus and tackle once the military operations are over and we are able to work with them on the ground.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, if as you have told the world the two resolutions of September 12 and September 28 do form the legal basis - also for the current military operations even though they do not contain the specific mandate of military measures - do we have to expect that in the future every State which claims self-defence under Article 51 of the Charter can take military measures even without getting a specific mandate by the Security Council? And secondly, what is your understanding, your interpretation of what the goals of the current military actions are? Is it to catch Mr. Ben Laden, to bring him to whatever court? Is it the goal to get him killed? Is it the goal to topple the Taliban Government? What is the goal of this military action?
SG: I think on the first part of your question, we have to be clear here that the comments or questions I have answered have related specifically to Afghanistan. And there I have indicated that the Security Council, in its resolutions, stated that all necessary means should be used to fight terrorism. It also indicated that the perpetrators of the 11 September attack must be brought to justice. And it reaffirmed the right of collective and individual self-defence under Article 51. And the countries that are now engaging in the military action in Afghanistan have set their actions in this context. Not only that, the British Government gave a report to the Council offering some indications or some evidence as to why they believed Al-Queda is the perpetrator of this. The Council discussed it and did not seem to object to the discussions that they had. But the fact is, the issue was discussed in the Council. Not only before but even after the actions. So normally I would expect those who are going to take these kinds of action would also approach the Council in future.
On the second part of your question, I am not privy to the military operations strategically or tactically, it is not a United Nations operation, and I cannot give you a detailed response to that. But if I follow the Security Council resolution, the idea would be to bring the perpetrators of the 11 September attacks to justice. As for what the broader ultimate goal of this current operation is and all that, I am not in the loop on that.
Q: Monsieur le Secrétaire général, à plusieurs reprises, vous avez fait référence à la résolution 1368 qui déclare effectivement vouloir faire comparaître les auteurs des attentats devant la justice; mais devant quelle justice ? Est-ce devant une cour nationale ou, au contraire, devant le Tribunal pénal international, dont un ex-président dit qu'une résolution du Conseil de sécurité pourrait constituer une base pour juger Ben Laden et ses associés ? C'est ma première question. Et j'en ai une seconde, extrêmement brève : il y a quelques jours, Mme Mary Robinson avait demandé une pause dans les bombardements pour des raisons humanitaires. Est-ce que cette demande, selon vous, est encore d'actualité ?
SG: On the first question you are absolutely right. First of all we do not have the International Criminal Court established yet. And even if we did, at this stage terrorism is not part of the issues that they can take up. I expect one of the things they will do once the Court is created is perhaps to consider the possibility of expanding its remit to deal with terrorism. So if today you were to bring terrorists to justice, it will either have to be the Council setting up a special court as it has done in the past for specific situations, or an individual country that has been aggrieved can bring them to court.
On the question of the powers, I have indicated that for us what I would want to see is an end to the military operations as quickly as possible so that we can get on with our work. And I suspect those undertaking the operation should also want to see that because we need to be able to step up our humanitarian operation and help the people. And the question of avoiding civilian casualties is something that has been raised many times with the United States and the United Kingdom and they have indicated their own concern about it. And of course the humanitarian concern and the needs of the population and the assurance that we get in enough food to avoid starvation in the winter is also something that is of importance to them, I hope and I trust as well. And therefore, I hope that we can get this over as quickly as possible for us to focus on that essential task. That is the position that I maintain.
Q: Secretary-General, you said that the maintenance of an international coalition was vital to defeat terrorism. At the same time you have expressed a desire to see an end to the military campaign as soon as possible. Is there a danger though that this campaign does not end very quickly; that this international coalition which you say is vital to the success of the fight is actually going to collapse and therefore the process would become self-defeating?
SG: I think the implications in your question are right. That in every coalition of this kind you do have tensions. And the longer it goes on, the greater the likelihood that there would be more tensions and stresses. These tensions and stresses have to be managed in any coalition. And I hope they will be managed on this occasion as well, because it is extremely important for us to stay together in this struggle.
Press encounter at ILO Headquarters, Geneva, 1 November 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, we hear voices here stressing the need for action to combat the job crisis and calling for a global alliance against unemployment. What can the United Nations system do to help in consolidating this alliance, both in social and economic dimensions?
SG: I think first of all, the UN has been working better amongst ourselves and our agencies, and we have also reached out in partnerships to work with the Governments, private sector, civil society and trade unions, something ILO has been doing for a long time. And I would also want to recall that at the Millennium Summit last year, the World leaders placed development and eradication of poverty at the centre of our economic programme. That means that at the national level, we all have to take steps to ensure that there is economic growth, to ensure that there is employment for the youth and employment for women in society in general. And not only do we have those plans, we have indicated that we will monitor appliance and performance on an annual basis and report back to the Governments. So we are urging all Governments to take economic development, economic growth seriously, particularly growth that also creates employment for the population. And I applaud the leadership and the effort of Mr. Juan Somavia in this area. As he indicated, he is working very, very well with all the agencies of the UN system as well as with the private sector, Governments and trade unions. And I believe that if we pool our efforts and work together, we can achieve our objectives.
Press encounter with CNN upon arrival at UNHQ, 30 October 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Q: Before you go to Geneva I thought we would ask a few questions. What is your assessment of how the war is going - there are various polls that say people are losing enthusiasm, some say it's a stalemate, and some say it's war, that this is what happens - what is you seasoned assessment of the situation?
SG: Well, I don't have any insight into the war effort - the strategic or the tactical reasons behind it. But let me say that I have also heard some of the comments that you have referred to, and also reactions in the region. But without firm knowledge of what is going on, and without appreciation of what those organizing the campaign are trying to do, it is difficult for me to make a judgment.
Q: Should there be a bombing halt for humanitarian efforts to get in to help the people?
SG: I think what is important from our point of view is that we need to see the operation ended as soon as possible so that we can step up our humanitarian effort, get in as much food as we can, and prepare for the winter. We are getting in quite a bit, despite the military operations. I think that is a credit to the courage of our staff, and also to the truck drivers who are prepared to take the risks.
Q: How long a halt should there be?
SG: Well, I haven't referred to a halt. What I am saying is that we would want to see this whole military operation ended as soon as possible, particularly the air action, so that we can begin to move in our supplies.
Q: Do you accept the Pentagon's statement that now they bombed the Red Cross Shelter because Taliban was stealing food, not that it was a stray missile?
SG: I think in these sorts of operations, every effort should be made to avoid humanitarian casualties, and to avoid hitting supplies which are needed to help the civilian population. I do not have the details, but I think one cannot condone or accept that Red Cross warehouses could be hit.
Q: The U.S. was talking about another security alert - again we ask the question, are you comfortable with the safety of the UN organization building here and the staff?
SG: I think our security staff are doing the best they can and are trying to keep their ears to the ground, listening to others for information, for intelligence. I feel quite secure here. I am not unduly worried and we are taking all the steps we can to secure the building and reassure the staff.
Q: Should Taliban members be part of any new government?
SG: I think that is a decision for the Afghans to make. We have indicated that we would want to see a broad-based Afghan government. Mr. Brahimi is there talking to all concerned and he is making an assessment which he will share with me when he gets back here. Then we will make a judgment. But who joins a broad-based Afghan government is a decision for the Afghans to make.
Q: Last light question. You are a Yankees fan. You are leaving town. Are they going to rally and win this World Series?
SG: It ain't over until it's over. It's only two games now, and I think they stand a chance. Q: Thank you. Happy trails.
Press encounter before meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, 21 October 2001 (unofficial transcript)
FM Peres: May I say that I really came to congratulate Kofi Annan for being awarded the Nobel prize. I think he deserves it, on behalf of all of us. I think it is a superb choice, not only because of the things he did, obviously, but also because of the potential he carries -- with his personality, in the way of raised values, in the way of seeing the globe as one [inaudible], and giving a voice to all and togetherness. So that's my purpose of coming here today.
SG: I think this coming from the Foreign Minister is a great tribute, given his own role in peace. And I've often said that in times of crisis and war, a man like Peres, and his voice, is always needed. He's demonstrated courage. He's been determined to do whatever he can to bring about peace, not only in his region, but to reason with others around the world. And I know it's sometimes very lonely, but that has not deterred him. And so I would also want to...
FM: ...Once you get the Prize, you have to justify it for the rest of your life.
Secretary-General remarks to the staff of the United Nations, 12 October 2001
SG: I believe as we listened to the [Nobel] Citation we also realized the challenge, the challenge thrown to us by the Nobel Committee. I am sure we will rise up to the challenge.
When I was reappointed Secretary-General, one of our colleagues, Ibrahima Fall, was travelling through Africa, and he met an old man, an old man he didn't know. The old man said to him, I have a message for the Secretary-General - tell him we are happy that he is reappointed but he must take time to celebrate his achievements and successes to be able to focus on challenges ahead. In effect, it is the same message we are getting from the Nobel Committee, that there are challenges ahead. We have had some successes and failures, and they expect us to work hard and meet those challenges. This is an indispensable organization, but an organization that can only work because of the staff and their contribution and your dedication.
Our staff are often on the frontlines. In the past week alone we have lost about ten colleagues, in Georgia and in Afghanistan. And yet our staff keep at it. You are prepared to go to any corner of the world in the service of peace and the work of the United Nations.
Today that work has been recognized. We have won the Nobel Prize, and I think it is a shot in the arm that is really deserved and needed. I hope it will urge us forward and encourage all of us to tackle our tasks with even greater determination. I know as we press forward, we can count on the cooperation, the support and encouragement of our Member States, because the UN is them, and the UN is us. I am sure that together, we will meet the challenges ahead.
I said this morning to the press that the world is a messy place, and unfortunately the messier it gets, the more work we have to do. And so to wake up to a morning like this, a morning of recognition, a morning of encouragement for all of us, is something that we should cherish. But we should cherish this in a sense of deciding to even try harder.
So, my good friends, let me say congratulations to all of you. Let me say that if the UN has achieved anything it is because of the work that you do, and your dedication, and we look forward to many more years of that kind of service. And who knows, if you keep at it, maybe some of you will see another Nobel Peace Prize. [laughter and cheers]
If you are going to get that next Nobel Peace Prize, I think we had better go back to work. [more laughter and clapping]
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's press encounter at his residence following announcement of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize New York, 12 October 2001
SG: Good morning. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
It's a wonderful award. We are extremely pleased, particularly coming as it does, at this time when we are tacking some very difficult issues around the world. In my kind of work, you don't get this kind of news every day. And usually when the phone rings early in the morning, it's some bad news somewhere around the world. And I think this is going to be a great encouragement for me, personally, and for all my colleagues at the United Nations. And we look forward to pressing ahead.
Q: Is this a prize that [inaudible] the future of the UN's position?
SG: I think it's a prize that honours the UN, but also challenges us -- challenges us to do more and to do better, not to rest on our laurels. And I think it's also an indication that the UN is a very important organization in this interdependent world where we have to work together.
Q: What do you think of President Bush's remarks about the UN could play a role in nation-building of Afghanistan and perhaps link it to this award, if there is a way or connection?
SG: Obviously, depending upon what happens in Afghanistan, the UN may have an important role to play. But that will also depend on the Member States -- to depend on the Member States in terms of the kind of mandate we are given, and the resources and the support that comes with it. And I think when you look around, the UN is the only organization that in the past has done the kind of work that may be necessary in Afghanistan depending on developments of course.
Q: If you look back, why did the UN get it?
SG: I think that's a question that the Nobel Committee should answer. I think the citation was an interesting one. They believe that we need to encourage international cooperation and I believe that has become even more important in today's world. And I would say that they gave it to the UN not only to recognize it -- what we've achieved in the past -- but to encourage us to really move forward and work with governments and make sure there is true international cooperation and multilateralism. And that is the challenge I was referring to.
Q: Have the last ten years been crucial?
SG: I think the last ten years have been crucial and the next ten years, I hope, will be crucial.
Q: Sir, you've just been, for a week, in Norway on vacation, and you have always stated [that] Norway's a special country for you. How will it be to get back to Norway and receive the prize now?
SG: It would be wonderful for us to be back in Norway. As you know, we had a wonderful hiking holiday this summer, walking 8 hours the last day. And it's such a beautiful country and both of us love nature, and nature really soothes us. So it's a country that we'd love getting back to. And I have a brother in-law who lives there -- Nane's brother.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, have you had a chance to speak with Nobel Laureate Eli Wiesel?
SG: Not yet, I haven't spoken to him today. But he is a good friend and I will have a chance to talk to him. And I'm sure he'll be happy for me and for the UN, knowing him.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, what will you do with your prize?
SG: I have plenty of time to think about that.
Q: Personally, how did that make you feel?
SG: Humbled. Humbled, but also encouraged. It is not something you expect. You go about doing your work. It feels good, but it is humbling.
Q: And it also comes with a great deal of responsibility.
SG: Absolutely. That is it. Greater expectations from people ….
Q: The Committee mentioned AIDS, human rights. Is there anything in particular that gives you more satisfaction this morning -- one of many of your commitments that they mentioned, something in particular?
SG: I think they mentioned AIDS, which is also linked to the fight against poverty, which is extremely important to all of us. And when the Heads of States came here for the Millennium Summit, poverty was one of the key issues they mentioned. There's a link between poverty and AIDS. And so I was happy that they also cited that.
Q: The prize itself is a considerable amount of money. Have you given it a thought on what you're going to …
SG: Not really. In fact, she asked that question and I said, "We have plenty of time to decide what to do with it." And we'll find good use for it, don't worry.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, how can this award strengthen the United Nations hand at this time, after September the 11th?
SG: No, I agree with that. I think the timing couldn't have been better. And it is really going to do all sorts of intangible things for us and I think it is going to encourage and energize my colleagues, particularly those in the field -- in Afghanistan, in Congo, in the Balkans, and all of us. So I think it's a great shot in the arm for us.
Q: Who else called you this morning to congratulate? Who called you this morning?
SG: I've had several calls -- from [Javier] Solana [foreign policy chief, European Union], from [Lakhdar] Brahimi [Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan], from my family, my mother-in-law, my children and other friends.
Q: Has the American President called you yet?
SG: Not yet, it's a bit early. It's a bit early.
Q: Will this award change you or the Organization in any way?
SG: I think you've known me long enough. I will not change. I hope it will change the Organization in the sense that it will energize all of us to do more and to carry on with our work. Thank you very much and I'm sorry that you've all been out here for so long.
UNHQ, 11 October 2001 - Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke to the American people via satellite as part of a national Town Hall meeting, sponsored by the Better World Campaign. Simultaneous gatherings in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa were moderated by Walter Cronkite
VO: United Nations. Nations United. The UN reaches out to America. Now, from United Nations Headquarters in New York. Walter Cronkite.
WC: Good morning. One month ago, the world changed dramatically. In a scant 2 hours time, the lives of almost 6,000 persons of many faiths, cultures, and societies, from all over our world, were lost. Their lives ended when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and when a fourth attack was foiled by heroic passengers who died when their plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
These tragic events touched us all in ways we are just now beginning to comprehend. America stands united as perhaps never before in its resolve to wage a global fight against terrorism. We do not stand alone, however. The United Nations stands at the center of an unprecedented global coalition, mobilized against our common enemy.
Today, as a demonstration of that unity, for the first time in history, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, speaks to communities all across America. But before I introduce the Secretary-General, let me tell you a little bit about today's event and its sponsors. This interactive, national Town Hall meeting is being produced by the Better World campaign, a project of the Better World Fund. The Better World Fund was created from a portion of an initial gift of 1 billion dollars from America philanthropist and businessman Ted Turner.
The event also is being co-sponsored nationally by the United Nations Association of the United States of America, the League of Women Voters, and the United Nations Foundation. Each of the 10 cities participating in this broadcast is equipped with a 2 way satellite connection, so that we can all see and hear each other during the dialogue.
And now, it's my distinct pleasure to introduce the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan. Ghanaian by birth, Mr. Annan has had a remarkable 30 year diplomatic career. Recently appointed to a second term, Mr. Annan is the first Secretary-General to be elected from the ranks of United Nations staff.
He studied at two of the communities we'll be talking with today. He completed his undergraduate work in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and as a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, he received a Master of Science Degree in management.
Throughout his distinguished diplomatic career, Kofi Annan has become accustomed to delicate political situations. Whether it be promoting the transition to civilian rule in Nigeria, or resolving a stalemate between Libya and the Security Council over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, he's been tireless in his efforts to bring about peace. Mr. Secretary-General, welcome.
SG: Thank you very much. Happy to be here.
WC: Mr. Secretary-General, we're going to begin with a taped message from the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell. I know the two of you are well acquainted. Let us hear what Secretary Powell has to say to us.
CP: Hello. I'm pleased to have this opportunity to let the American people know what a critical role the United Nations is playing, to help mobilize the international community against terrorism. President Bush and I applaud Secretary-General Annan's leadership, and also the swift and steadfast response of the Security Council and the General Assembly, following the tragedies that occurred on the 11th of September.
The very day after the attacks, both bodies categorically condemned terrorism, and called for the planners and perpetrators to be brought to justice. The Security Council subsequently passed a resolution on September 28th, which gave even more concrete expression to the international community's condemnation and resolve. It obligates all 189 Member States, countries of every continent, culture, and creed, to deny financing and other forms of support and safe haven to terrorists, and to cooperate in bringing them to justice. No resources, plus no refuge, ultimately equals no escape.
So we cannot over-estimate the importance of that trail-breaking resolution. This is the second time in the last 10 or 12 years of my life that the United Nations has galvanized international action for world peace and security. The first, of course, was the Gulf War. We're also going to win the war against terrorism, but it's a different kind of war. And it's going to take sustained commitment on the part of the international community.
The UN is also helping to send the message that while the world condemns Osama Bin Laden and his vicious networks, and the Taliban regime that harbors them, it has great compassion for the suffering people of Afghanistan. The international community with the United States at the forefront, as the largest single donor, is working through the UN to feed and shelter millions of starving and displaced Afghans. This massive humanitarian effort already has saved countless innocent lives, and it will save countless more.
Beyond its invaluable contributions to the global campaign against terrorism, the United Nations is making a difference in the daily lives of ordinary men and women all around the globe, in a host of other ways. Whether it's disaster relief or peace-keeping, the world-wide fight against infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. Or the setting of technical and legal standards that underpin the international system. Or fostering good governance and sustainable development. All of these things show what the UN is capable of doing.
I'm very pleased by the way that on October 5th, President Bush signed the legislation authorizing payment of 582 million dollars in back dues. The United States is committed to the United Nations, and will continue to vigorously support institutional reform, with the aim of strengthening the United Nations' effectiveness.
In the challenging years ahead, we very much look forward to working closely with Secretary-General Annan, and our fellow Member States, to build a safer, freer, better world for everyone. And I thank you for your interest in and your support for the United Nations. It works for your world. It works for you. Thank you very much.
WC: Mr. Secretary-General, Secretary Powell says that the United Nations is playing a critical role in mobilizing the international community against terrorism. Can you tell us this morning how you're accomplishing that?
SG: Thank you, Walter. Immediately after the attack, I myself issued a statement. But what was more important is all the 189 Member States rallied in a manner that we have not seen in this house before. The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the attacks, and so did the General Assembly. All the 189 Member States, within 24 hours.
Not only did the Member States here come together, but we saw around the world with capitals, candle vigils by students, by people all over the world, expressing their solidarity with the American people. But what the UN is able to do is to provide a basis for that broad international coalition, that we are putting together to fight terrorism.
The Security Council resolution provides a basis and demands of governments certain actions they have to take to ensure that terrorists do not prosper, and are not able to continue their evil work in our midst.
WC: The Secretary of State also mentioned that the United States is working through the UN to feed and shelter the millions of starving and displaced Afghans. How does the military activity affect that humanitarian work?
AC: The United Nations and its humanitarian agencies have been engaged in the humanitarian work in Afghanistan for quite some time. This is a country that has suffered a great deal in the past 2 decades, having been through many wars, having seen a drought in the last couple of years. And our humanitarian agencies are there from the High Commissioner for Refugees, that is looking after several million refugees on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in Iran, are now also engaged in helping the internally displaced people.
The World Food Programme is moving in humanitarian supplies. Of course, because of the war, we are not able to move as many supplies as we could. We had to suspend food deliveries because of the military action. But, we resumed them again yesterday, and we are beginning to move in about a thousand tons a day. But we need roughly 60 thousand tons per month to feed the Afghan population. So, we are planning to step up our delivery as soon as the situation permits.
But of course, to be effective, you need to have access and security, and this is something that we are monitoring very, very closely, and for the moment we've had to pull out our international personnel. But they will go back as soon as the situation permits. They are courageous men and women, working with their Afghan counterparts, who have taken enormous risks to ensure that the people get what they need.
WC: Mr. Secretary-General, we know that your schedule is tight. You are just a little busy these days. So we're going to head right into the questions from our community audiences out there. And the first city we're going to is Denver, where our local moderator, the National President of the League of Women Voters, Dr. Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, is standing by with our local questioner. Dr. Jenkins, welcome.
CJJ: Good morning, Mr. Cronkite and Mr. Annan. Thank you for having us here this morning. I am Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, the President of the League of Women Voters of the United States. And the League is proud to be a co-sponsor of such a historic event as today. We are at the Denver Performing Arts Center in Denver, Colorado, and we are also pleased to be joined this morning by the Consul General from Peru. And he is with us in the audience.
Our first question this morning will come from Jim Felton from the Breckenridge Ski Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado.
JF: Good morning, gentlemen. I am from the Breckenridge Ski Resort. We're located about 10,000 feet in the lovely Colorado Rocky Mountains. And my question today is, what is the UN's position on the use of force in response to the September 11th attacks? Thank you.
SG: I think the Security Council was very clear in the resolution it passed, 1373. It indicated that the attacks against the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania, were threats to international peace and security, and that it was prepared to take all necessary means to fight these attacks. It also reaffirmed the right for self-defense, individually and collectively.
And since the military actions began in Afghanistan, both the United States and United Kingdom, the two countries most actively engaged in this action, wrote to the Security Council explaining their actions in the context of the right to self-defense as enshrined in the Charter. So they gave the Council a full briefing on this, and the Council seemed satisfied.
WC: Well, thank you, Denver. Now we're going to go to Boston, where former Senator Tim Wirth is standing by. Senator Wirth is President of the United Nations Foundation, one of the sponsors of today's event. Senator Wirth, it always is a pleasure to hear from you, sir.
TW: Well, Walter, thank you, and thank you for being here, Mr. Secretary-General. Thank you for this great opportunity. We are in the Massachusetts State House, probably one of the most historic political institutions in the country. Our guest today, our questioner today, is Mr. [Mohammed Al Salaam]. Mr. [Al Salaam] works for the Massachusetts Re-development Authority, and he has a large family. One of his sons is a career Navy officer, currently in the Persian Gulf. Mr. [Al Salaam]?
MAS: Good afternoon, Mr. Cronkite. Mr. Annan. My question is, what has the United Nations been doing to counter international terrorism, prior to September 11th?
AC: I think the United Nations has done a lot to fight terrorism, and perhaps it is our fault that the public doesn't know too much about what we've been doing. We have adopted 12 conventions and protocols to fight terrorism. The last one was meant to suppress financing of terrorism. Right now as we speak, the 189 Member States are working on the 13th convention, a comprehensive one, that is intended to make the lives of terrorists even much more difficult than the 12 earlier conventions. I'm hopeful that the Member States, spurred on by the horror and the tragedy we all lived on the 11th of September, will press ahead, and endorse that resolution, that convention.
What is also important is that I sense a new urgency on the part of the Member States to sign and ratify all these anti-terrorist conventions, and implement them as quickly as they can. So, we've been fighting terrorism for a long time, and I think with the 13th convention, we will provide a common legal and framework for all 189 states to pursue their fight and struggle against terrorists.
WC: Thank you, Boston. And now we move to Seattle, where we're joined by Margaret Larson, who is moderating our discussion at the University of Washington.
ML: Good morning. To pose our question from Seattle today, we have the University of Washington President, Richard McCormick. Mr. McCormick?
RM: Thank you, Margaret. It is a pleasure for me and my University of Washington colleagues to participate in this National Forum with the United Nations. My question is, Mr. Secretary-General, what is the UN doing about the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan?
SG: We have mounted a major humanitarian effort, and last week I gave an Alert to the donors that we're going to need about 584 million dollars to pursue our humanitarian operations. Luckily, the response has been phenomenal. It's been over-subscribed, and today we've got 700 million dollars, with the U.S. being a major contributor. We are positioning food supplies in the neighboring countries. We are feeding the several million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and in Iran, and we are assisting the Afghans who have remained inside, and those who are internally displaced.
We will continue to move food supplies into the country. As I said, it was disrupted very briefly, but we have resumed the work. And here I take, once again, an opportunity to applaud our humanitarian workers, international and Afghan, for the work that they have done. We are determined to work with the international community to ensure that the Afghan population do not suffer as a result of the fight against al-Qaida. After all, they are not the intended targets, and we need to make sure that we look after their needs.
WC: Thank you, Seattle. And Secretary-General, we're now going to head down to Houston, Texas, where former Ambassador Bill Luers is moderating our discussion. Ambassador Luers is, I'm sure you know, also the President of the United Nations Association of the USA - a national co-sponsor of this dialogue. Ambassador Luers, good to see you this morning.
BL: Walter, thank you for doing this. And Mr. Secretary-General, you do us all a great favor by telling your story to the world, as you're doing right now. Our questioner today, speaking from the Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, is Matthew [Morelis], who is a graduate student at the University of Texas School of Public Health.
MM: Good morning, Mr. Cronkite, and good morning Mr. Secretary-General. My question is, given all the media coverage about the Taliban and also their ongoing defiance, I would like to know, as [would] so many people, what is the role of the United Nations... what is the United Nation's position on the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan?
SG: First of all, let me say that the United Nations does not recognize the Taliban. It has not recognized the Taliban. The Afghan seat here at the UN is filled by a representative of the Northern Alliance. We have had our own problems with the Taliban in the past, because the Security Council urged the Taliban to release Bin Laden, following the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania. They did not do it, and so the Council imposed sanctions on them, and those sanctions did not compel them to release the leader of the al-Qaida organization.
And now, of course, we are in a major confrontation. There is a major confrontation between the Taliban and the international community, and we have also come up with resolutions on how to fight terrorism, which will affect both al-Qaida and the Taliban in the sense that it is protecting and harboring terrorists which the resolution is against. And I think in that respect, we have provided a basis for international action.
WC: Thank you. And now to St. Louis, where our moderator is Nan Wyatt, a reporter with KMOF's radio.
NW: Walter, thank you so much, and Secretary-General Annan, greetings to you from America's heartland, and thank you so much for spending some time with us today. We have so many folks here who would love to ask you a question. Laura [Gotch] is joining us. She was born and raised in St. Louis, and her sister is in service right now to the United Nations in Angola, and she has a question for you. Laura?
LG: Good morning. Could you tell us how the recent terrorist attacks and the resulting massive humanitarian response in Afghanistan and its neighboring countries will affect the UN's priority of addressing HIV and AIDS in the African countries?
SG: I think the fight against terrorism is important and is crucial, and we need to keep on with it. But of course, the UN's other activities, the UN's traditional work - fighting poverty, helping resolve conflict, fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS are equally important. The publicity and the media in a way has obscured our other activities but they are no less important. And we are pressing on.
In fact, last week, on the 4th of October, I met with the Chairmen and CEO's of the seven largest pharmaceutical companies to discuss making the AIDS drug accessible to the poor, continuing our major struggle against the HIV virus, whilst we fight the terrorist threat. So, we will continue our activities. I think in some ways it is even much more important. We need to tackle some of the root causes, and conditions that breed desperation and sometimes encourages young men and young people to become terrorists.
WC: Thank you, St. Louis. And now we head to Atlanta, where our moderator is Ms. Angela Robinson. Good afternoon, Angela.
AR: Good afternoon, Walter, and thank you. Our question from Atlanta comes from Bishop Ron Rhodes.
RR: Mr. Secretary-General, in light of the tragic events of September 11th, how will the United Nations encourage greater tolerance among peoples and nations, and discourage efforts to foment a backlash against Islam?
SG: I think it was one of the tragic ironies, that the 11th of September, when the bombing took place, was the International Day of Peace. On that day, we usually ring a peace bell, and of course we had to postpone it on the 11th of September. We did it subsequently. This year is also the International Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, which is intended to bring the Member States and religions and various societies together, to discuss culture, what they have in common, rather than what divides them.
And I think as we go forward with this fight against terrorism, it is important that we recognize that those who committed these crimes are criminals who should be dealt with, and not confuse them with Islam or with a particular region. And I think the leaders of the world, starting with President Bush and other leaders, have been very clear in telling the population ... do not take the law into your own hands, do not go out after Islam, because this is not the work of Islam, it is the work of individuals.
We also need to be aware that whatever response we take, we have to be careful not to increase divisions within societies, and between countries. All our societies are multi-cultural and multi-religious. And so if we were to get into that kind of friction and fight, we will start fighting within our own societies, before we go outside our borders. And I think that message of tolerance, that message to everyone to accept and appreciate and celebrate our diversity, as part of human existence, is going to be very important. Schools must speak out, leaders must lead, and the churches have a role to play. So do the Mosques and the synagogues. We should all speak out and educate.
WC: Thank you, Angela and Atlanta. Now we switch to a region of the country that was once home to Secretary-General Annan. From the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, we have Mr. Gary Eichton, a regular on Minnesota Public Radio, standing by with a questioner.
GE: Thank you, Mr. Cronkite. Indeed, the person who is going to be posing our question here in Minneapolis is the President of Secretary-General Annan's alma mater, Macalester College President Michael [Macpherson].
MM: Mr. Secretary-General. How can we sustain the international coalition against terrorism, when inevitably there will be differences among nations as to how we should proceed?
SG: Thank you, Michael, and it's good to see you again. Yes, there will be differences. There will be differences of opinion, differences of approach, and you do have this in all coalitions. You do have this in smaller groups, even. And we need to manage those divisions. What is important is that the objective is clear. And almost every country and every region in the world has suffered from terrorism.
And I have spoken to lots of leaders around the world, and the ambassadors here. When they watched the World Trade Center go down, they saw what happened in the Pentagon, and the plane go down in Pittsburgh, apart from that wonderful feeling of solidarity that came, born out of horror, and the unity that emerged, the sense was - this can happen anywhere. It's New York today - where would it be next day? And how do we all come together to fight it?
So we agreed on the common objective. As we move forward, there will be differences, there will be discussions, but I'm sure we will be able to overcome them. And that is why the work the UN is doing here is extremely important, by providing a common basis, either through Security Council resolutions, or the legal work of producing conventions that the General Assembly is doing. And with that common framework, we have a common basis for monitoring the response and the reaction of each of the Member States. We have a common benchmark, a common yardstick. And I think that's going to be important. And that should also, in the end, minimize some of the frictions that you inevitably have in a coalition this size.
WC: Now to Tampa, where we have Forrest Gossett of the Tampa Business Journal, who joins us from the campus of the University of Tampa. Mr. Gossett, welcome.
FG: Thank you, Walter. Welcome to the University of Tampa. I'm Forrest Gossett. I'm publisher of the Business Journal in Tampa. And we're delighted to join with 100 people at the University of Tampa today for this extraordinary forum. Our question, Mr. Secretary-General, for you comes from Dr. Jeffrey [Klepfor]. He is the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences here at the University of Tampa. Dr. [Klepfor], your question.
JK: Mr. Secretary-General. A recent associated press poll showed that 9 out of 10 Americans think the UN should play a major role in keeping nations united in the fight against terrorism. Why do you think this is the case?
SG: I'm delighted with the results of the poll, because I believe if we are going to defeat terrorism, we need to cooperate across borders. We either cooperate in this struggle and win, or we don't win at all. And I'm really delighted that the American public have come to that conclusion. Because it is only by denying them shelter across borders, by ensuring they do not use legitimate banking systems for their evil deeds, and ensuring that they have no logistical support, and all governments accept these basic premises and work together, that is the only way we will defeat terrorism.
The military operation taking place in Afghanistan is a very small part of the battle. We need to fire at them on a wide range of fronts. And that can only be done through international cooperation. And I applaud the American public for coming to that judgment. And by the way, I also would want to say that I know recently there has been lots of talk about "why do they hate us?" But I saw another, a bigger story, which I hope the press will write about sometime - the spontaneous support, the spontaneous friendship for the American Government and its people, that was demonstrated around the world.
So, I'm looking forward to reading the story, "why do they support us" or "why do they love us" or "we didn't know we had so many friends out there."
WC: Now, over to Los Angeles, where we're joined by Bill Rosendahl, who joins us from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Bill, welcome.
BR: Thank you, and good morning, Mr. Secretary and Mr. Cronkite. Los Angeles is pleased to be part of this historic Town Hall. Joining me is Mary [Kuhab], who's a Deputy Project Manager of the Lee Andrews group, with a question.
MK: Mr. Secretary-General, how will the UN's efforts towards preventing terrorism, such as arms control, change in light of the September 11th attacks?
SG: I think the task becomes much more urgent, and in fact, I talked earlier about the convention the General Assembly is working on. Alongside that convention is a proposal from the Russian Federation, asking the Assembly to take action against nuclear terrorism. And that is also being discussed by the Member States. I believe that what happened on September the 11th is going to push the Member States forward in their attempts to ensure that these weapons of mass destruction do not get into the wrong hands.
And I would hope that it would also encourage Member States to band together to sign the conventions on these weapons, including CTBT, to ensure that we are making sure that these weapons do not spread, with the possibility that they may get into the wrong hands. But that should also go for the land mine ban and small arms, which terrorists and drug dealers use a lot.
WC: Thank you, Los Angeles. Back to the mid-west now, we'll take our last question from Chicago, where our moderator is John Calloway, a veritable institution in Chicago broadcasting. John, it's always a pleasure.
JC: Walter, thank you very much, and Mr. Secretary-General, good afternoon. We're delighted to come to you from Chicago and to be a part of this. Our question comes from Dr. [Terrick Butt], who is a family physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, and also a member of the Chicago Board of Education.
TB: Good morning, Mr. Secretary-General. Last week, the UN General Assembly had a five day debate on terrorism. What's the outcome of this debate, and what comes next?
SG: During that debate, almost all the Member States condemned the terrorist attacks, and condemned terrorism, and agreed to band together to fight it. Of course, as we move forward with that debate, there is one question, which has to be resolved. And you might it strange, it's a question of definition of terrorism. I think we will be able to resolve this issue, because one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, or a nationalist trying to liberate his or her country. And so we need to find a definition that is clear for everyone. I think what happened in New York and Washington and in Pennsylvania were clear terrorist attacks. Any attempts aimed at civilians and senseless killing of civilians, whatever the cause, cannot be justified. And so I think the Member States will be able to come up with an acceptable definition. But the essential part is that they are determined to fight terrorism, work on the convention that is before them now, and try and get it approved. And, encourage their own governments to sign and ratify these conventions. And once that is done, and they've all signed it, we will have a common framework. The other thing we are doing here, following the Security Council's resolution, we recognize that some Member States may not have the capacity to adapt their legislative or banking systems, and we are taking steps to be able to provide them that support so that all Member States can abide by the Security Council resolutions.
WC: And this concludes this National Town Hall Meeting. Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General for joining us today, of course. I'm sure that I speak for all of those participating, those viewing at home, and many more of my countrymen, when I wish you, of course, all the luck in the world in your command efforts to bring about peace.
SG: Thank you.
WC: At this point, we'll be turning our meeting over to your local moderators, and panelists. We'll carry on the community dialogue. Thank all of you for participating with us today. From the United Nations in New York, I'm Walter Cronkite. Good day.
Secretary-General and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at Security Council stakeout, 9 October 2001
SG: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen.
The Chancellor and I have had very good discussions on the issue of terrorism, the activities in Afghanistan, and the international effort to defeat this scourge. We also spoke about the situation in the Middle East, and the need to do whatever we can to find a political solution to the crisis there. We spoke about the role of the United Nations and the grave humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and the need for the international community to make a sustained effort, both material, financial and otherwise, to help the people in Afghanistan. And I was able to thank the Chancellor for the generosity, and the cooperation and the contribution we've had from the German Government and people as we deal with the situation in Afghanistan and in the region.
Chancellor Schroeder: [Translation from German] I'd like first to comment and express my deepest respect, in fact, not only for what the United Nations as such has achieved, but also for the Secretary-General's role in person, and the attitude that they have shown ever since the 11th of September. I think we cannot praise enough both resolutions taken -- 1368 and 1373. One just needs to emphasize this time and again. It shows that change is being brought about in international people's law here. And I would also like to emphasize the fact that the Secretary-General has indeed mentioned to bring the General Assembly, very quickly so, to a joint position which yet again shows that we have indeed started the fight against terrorism right now and here. We have also, and this has been specifically important for me, we have been able to show that the fight against terrorism is not only one that is based on the action taken now. It will not only be pursued by political means and military ones, but obviously we find it specifically important that there is a strong humanitarian element to it. We would very much like to envisage Germany supporting, helping with the gigantic refugee problem, we unfortunately shall be running into soon. And we have also talked about the fact that Germany might have an increased role in trying to influence the neighbour states in the region to support the process and maintain a constructive stance.
Press encounter at Security Council stakeout, UNHQ, 9 October 2001
Q: Mr. Secretary, your comment when international aid workers are killed in this bombing campaign, I think it's important. Is it possible for you to comment?
SG: I thought you were waiting for the President of the Security Council. Let me say that in fact the Council members raised it. And they all offered their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of those aid workers who died, and of course, stress the fact that we need to do all we can to protect innocent civilians in the struggle. And of course, for the UN, it's a hard blow. Yesterday, it was officers in Georgia, and of course last night it was Afghanistan. So it's something that is of great concern to me and the staff in this Organization.
Q: On the humanitarian situation in general, can we presume that it's now much more complicated to get aid there because of the …
SG: Yes, it is complicated. As you know, we already had difficulties getting the trucks and drivers who would go in. And with the current situation, that's become a bit more difficult. However, we are continuing our attempts to get trucks in, but it is much more difficult because as you can understand, in this situation, not many truck drivers want to drive in there.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, is there anything more that the United Nations can do to try and protect civilians who are working for the UN or UN agencies in Afghanistan?
SG: I think, obviously, we've taken all the necessary precaution we can and those undertaking the operations have also assured us that all effort will be made to avoid civilians and that their efforts will be targeted and focused on the alleged perpetrators. And I hope that precaution will minimize civilian involvement.
Q: Your address yesterday mentioned that you would like to see a political solution to this conflict. Their bombing campaign is underway again today. Is there anything that troubles you about what's happening and was there anything in the US letter to the Security Council that you would be concerned about? The letter mentions the US reserves the right to go after other countries or organizations.
SG: I think on the political front, the UN has been engaged in this for quite a long time, as you may know, through the 6 + 2 meetings and other efforts. And my own envoys have been very active in the region trying to bring the Afghans, get the Afghans to work together and create a broad-based government. We have always maintained that there's no military solution in Afghanistan and that the Afghans have to come together and form a government. We would also need the support and cooperation of the regional and the neighbouring governments, who have not always pulled together and have worked in opposite directions. We will continue our efforts and that will be part of the mandate of Mr. [Lakhdar] Brahimi [Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan] now that he is coming back on board.
On the question of the US letter, I think the one sentence which has caused some anxiety amongst the membership, which I've also asked about, was the question that they may find it necessary to go after other organizations and other states. But the US has indicated that this is not a predictor of any intentions that it intends to take, but basically a statement that they are at early stages and keeping their options open. And I think the White House Spokesman addressed this question yesterday. But that is one line that disturbed some of us.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. Brahimi has just been in Geneva holding meetings on this political issue. Have you gotten any readout from him on efforts to move ahead this political process and are you encouraged that something might be in the works?
SG: I think we have to give him a bit of time. He just came on board, he's consulting widely in Europe and he'll be here by the end of this week and we'll continue our consultations.
Q: People say you're a favourite to win the Nobel Prize even though I seem to say that to you every year, but have you heard any inside word on that?
SG: I see you still believe in rumours. [laughter]
Press encounter outside Security Council meeting on Kosovo, 5 October 2001 (unofficial transcript)
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, just a quick question for you please on the General Assembly debate on terrorism. How constructive do you think the debate has been, and what should the next steps be?
SG: I think what is important is the whole international community has come together to fight the scourge of terrorism. The General Assembly this week is only a beginning. I hope the Members will focus and work hard on the convention, the comprehensive convention banning terrorism and add it to the 12 conventions and protocols which have already been passed. I would also hope that when the Heads of States and the Ministers come here for the General Debate in November, most of them will be ready to sign and work for ratification of these conventions, and above all, work hard to implement them.
Excerpt from interview with Al Jazeera's Ghida Fakhri, 2 October 2001
Q: Going back to the specific Resolution , the fact that it is so broad and gives countries such a wide scope of measures that they can take against so-called terrorists, does that mean that certain civil liberties could be undermined in the process? And that certain countries could use it to crack down on their own opponents?
SG: I hope that will not happen, but it is a concern. It is a concern that we should all be aware of. In times like this there is usually that tension between liberty and freedom and security and safety. How much liberty does one give up for safety and security? And if you give up liberty for safety and security do you in the end have either? And so, I think one has to be very careful. My own preference is that, whilst things may have to be done differently because of what has happened, if one has to err, I would prefer that one errs on the side of freedom and liberties.
Secretary-General on ABC'S "GOOD MORNING AMERICA", with anchor Diane Sawyer, 2 October 2001 (unofficial transcript) - For further use please contact ABC concerning copyright restrictions
Sawyer: Here now, the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. Is the world at war against terrorism and is it a war we're going to win?
SG: This United Nations has reacted swiftly in a manner that I haven't seen before.
Sawyer: Surprise to you?
SG: It surprised me because they realize that we are in this together; that if this can happen in New York and in Washington and in Pennsylvania, it could be anywhere. If New York today, where would it be tomorrow and I think it shook them. It shook them and the solidarity has been quite remarkable.
[Video clip with Mayor Giuliani: The United Nations must hold accountable any country that supports or condones terrorism; otherwise, you will fail in your primary mission as peacekeeper.]
Sawyer: When the mayor says that the United Nations must hold the terrorists accountable or fail in its primary mission as peacekeepers, do you agree?
SG: I agree.
Sawyer: Do you consider that under these resolutions, the United States has the right now to proceed with military attacks without any further action or even consultation with the United Nations?
SG: Well, the Security Council resolutions have described the attack as a threat to international peace and security and has also reaffirmed the right of individual and collective civil defence.
Sawyer: Have you seen sufficient evidence for you that Osama bin Laden and his group, Al Qaeda, the greater Al Qaeda, are behind this?
SG: I have not seen anything more than I have read in the press.
Sawyer: If the U.S. should determine that Iraq had its fingerprints on this and should attack Iraq, would the coalition hold?
SG: Well, so far, I have not seen any indication that Iraq has been involved in this, but I think attack on Iraq in this current climate, I think can create major difficulties in the Middle East.
Sawyer: And if the United States should determine that in order to bring the terrorists to justice it's necessary to end the Taliban government in Afghanistan, would the United Nations then -- do these resolutions cover that and include that?
SG: No. The resolutions do not cover that, but there is an earlier U.N. resolution which demanded the Taliban to deliver bin Laden and that was a basis for imposing sanctions on the Taliban. But I will not interpret the resolutions as they have now been passed to include removing the Taliban from office. What is clear from what all that I have heard and the reports I have received is that the Afghan people may themselves wish to have a change given what is happening with the starvation and the drought and there's a limit to what people can take.
Sawyer: You were talking about over a six month period at least $584 million of emergency relief because of the refugees now flooding toward the border.
SG: That's correct.
Sawyer: Will this avert disaster?
SG: I hope it will and we are talking about 7.5 million people who will depend on sustained assistance for their survival. It's a major logistical nightmare because the snow will be coming soon and we need to try and position our food supplies as possible.
Sawyer: In your heart, how afraid are you, as so many people are, that we have crossed a Rubicon and on the other side of it is an endless attack and retaliation of large governments against terrorists, and that only more violence will be bred?
SG: I think there has been a wake-up call for all governments that they have to work together. If these terrorists, given what they did on the 11th of September, had had access to nuclear weapons or chemical, they could have used it and it could have killed many, many more. And, therefore, I urge the governments to take steps to ensure that we control access to these weapons of mass destruction.
Sawyer: It's a Genie out of a bottle, isn't it?
SG: I think it is not going to be easy, it's going to be difficult, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
Sawyer: So in your heart you're not afraid?
SG: I am not afraid. I have work to do and I'm going to keep at it.
Sawyer: Secretary Kofi Annan.
Press encounter upon arrival at UNHQ, 1 October 2001 (unofficial transcript)
SG: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Q: Have you heard any information that the UN itself is a target, because we have seen security and we have heard about the threat to target this building?
SG: I have no such information. Once before, yes, but not now. I think it is precautionary.
Q: How are the precautions in this building? Do you worry coming into work in the building every day?
SG: Do I worry coming in? Not at all, not at all. I think, we have work to do and we are going to get on with it.
Q: [inaudible, on Resolution on terrorism adopted by the Security Council on Friday evening]
SG: I think it was an important resolution, and it should form the basis of an international coalition that will rally all Member States around the world to fight terrorism. In a way it provides a basis and states what governments are expected to do. I think in that respect it is a very, very useful resolution.
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