I congratulate His Excellency Ali Abdessalam Treki on being elected President of the 64th session of the General Assembly.
But instead of “Welcome,” I should really say, “Welcome back”. Our new President is already very familiar with the United Nations.
He already served three times as his country's UN ambassador, most recently in 2003.
His other diplomatic assignments have placed him at the heart of the UN's agenda.
And in his current capacity as Libya's Minister of Africa Union affairs, he has been working on pressing matters of mutual concern to the United Nations and the African Union, including Darfur.
This wide-ranging diplomatic experience will be invaluable as he presides over the General Assembly. From climate change to hunger, from the economic crisis to the urgent need to reach the Millennium Development Goals, the Assembly will be challenged to forge new levels of international cooperation to solve our common problems.
My own experience tells me the Assembly can rise to this challenge.
You will recall that I served as Chef de Cabinet to the President of the General Assembly in 2001-2002. That session convened at a time of international upheaval. Despite the turmoil, Member States were able to achieve consensus on many important issues.
Now, as we face new problems and threats, Minister Treki's leadership will be crucial if the Assembly is to respond with unified action.
We must also keep adapting and improving our Organization to better live up to the ideals of the Charter and the demands of the times.
I congratulate our current President, His Excellency Mr. Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, on his valuable contribution. And I anticipate a smooth transition to the new leadership of the General Assembly.
I look forward to working closely with you, Mr. President-elect, and the entire membership toward our shared goal of a more effective United Nations, so that we can better serve the people who need us most.
Congratulations again on your election. I wish you every success as you take up your formidable responsibilities.