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UN, US begin new decade on better footing - Annan

UN, US begin new decade on better footing - Annan

With the removal of the dues question as a "needless irritant," the United States and the United Nations can move forward on a new path of greater cooperation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a group of former US Ambassadors in New York today.

Speaking to the Council of American Ambassadors, Mr. Annan paid tribute to Richard Holbrooke, who just concluded his service as US Permanent Representative to the UN, and is credited with resolving the dues issue. "Thanks to him and to you, I believe our special relationship is beginning a new decade on a better footing, with greater mutual understanding and appreciation," Mr. Annan said.

The Secretary-General, who has met with senior US officials including President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell, said he was "deeply gratified to hear them promise to support the United Nations, and to work with us on a number of issues of mutual concern -- from HIV/AIDS to conflict in Africa and the Middle East."

Mr. Annan also highlighted the important role played by diplomats in building bridges between nations and peoples. He added that the UN would continue to rely on the support of diplomats in carrying forward its aims in the areas of poverty reduction, peacekeeping, the environment and human rights.

The Council of American Ambassadors is comprised of present and former US Ambassadors. The Secretary-General made his remarks at a luncheon hosted by the Council.