Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to express my greatest appreciation and deepest admiration for His Excellency Joseph Deiss and his stewardship of the General Assembly over the past year.
Mr. President, you did a superb job during an especially challenging year, helping to show the role the General Assembly can play in meeting the major challenges of our time.
You presided over a very successful MDG Summit as a co-Chairman. It was one of the greatest successes of our history.
Your choice of theme -- global governance -- was especially timely, and your constructive efforts helped to reaffirm the central [role] of the United Nations in this area.
You steered the Assembly through three different, delicate and important processes -- the review of our peacebuilding architecture, the review of the Human Rights Council and efforts for the continuing reform of the Economic and Social Council, particularly your strong commitment for the reform of the Security Council has laid a good foundation on which your successor will be able to build.
You also convened many thematic debates and other meetings of consequence, all of them focused on issues that really matter to the world's people, such as the rule of law, the green economy and the responsibility to protect.
In your first comments to the membership upon being chosen as President, you reminded us all that “our purpose here is not merely to defend our particular national interests”. You said we are here “to be friends who work together to find constructive solutions”.
I think we can all agree that you did just that, highlighting again the relevance of the General Assembly as this organization's chief deliberative and representative body.
And you did all this with perfect punctuality -- a record of being on time that was a real inspiration to us all. On a personal note, I was particularly honoured when you administered the swearing in ceremony of my second term as Secretary-General.
Finally, let me express my full respect and gratitude again for your efforts and commitment and leadership. I am sure you will always be with us as an honorary ambassador for life in promoting the goals and objectives you have been so passionately advocating.
I wish you continued success and health in the future.
Thank you very much.