Member States voice strong support for Annan's re-election at UN's helm
Following a unanimous action by the General Assembly to appoint Kofi Annan to a second term as United Nations Secretary-General, representatives of various regional groups at the world body voiced their strong support for the UN leader, praising his personal integrity and dedication, as well as his professional qualities of a consummate negotiator and reform-minded manager.
"We in the African Group are proud of this great son of Africa," said Ambassador Arthur C.I. Mbanefo of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the continent's States following Mr. Annan's re-election by acclamation in the General Assembly. Ambassador Mbanefo stressed that the world looked to the Secretary-General with renewed hope that, calling on his unique qualities, Mr. Annan would excel in tackling the difficult and complex issues ahead. Ambassador Mbanefo stressed the need for Member States to continue to provide the Secretary-General with full support to enable the UN to play the role envisaged for it in world affairs.
Speaking on behalf of the Asian States, Ambassador Fuad Mubarak Al-Hinai of Oman said that the Secretary-General would bring to his second term a wealth of experience in dealing with multilateral issues, bold leadership, and excellent negotiating skills. He said Mr. Annan had never shied away from taking bold decisions in times of crisis, and expressed confidence that given the Secretary-General's integrity, dedication, fairness and impartiality, he would continue to uphold the interests of the United Nations.
Ambassador Hussein Zivalj of Bosnia and Herzegovina, speaking on behalf of the Eastern European States, praised Mr. Annan's efforts to preserve international peace and security, ensure sustainable development, protect the environment, and promote human rights and social justice. "The Group of Eastern European States pledges its support and cooperation with him in the carrying out of his not-always-easy mandate in the best interests of humanity," he said.
Speaking for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, Ambassador José Roberto Andino Salazar of El Salvador said the job of Secretary-General would, as in the past, continue to unfold in a complex and difficult international arena, marked by constantly emerging challenges and threats. He paid tribute to Mr. Annan's accomplishments since being named Secretary-General and expressed confidence that "he will continue to carry out his duties with dedication and determination."
Ambassador Inocencio F. Arias of Spain, who addressed the Assembly on behalf of the Western European and Other States, praised Mr. Annan's courage and determination in stressing the primacy of human rights, his vision in advocating the urgency of problems such as AIDS, and his honesty in recognizing the UN's shortcomings and pushing for its reform. In addition, Mr. Arias praised the Secretary-General's "steadfast faith in the principles and the potential of and the need for the United Nations."
Presenting the views of the Arab Group of States, Ambassador Fawzi Bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi of Saudi Arabia lauded the Secretary-General's accomplishments, particularly his efforts to establish a just peace in the Middle East. "His record of outstanding work and continuous efforts in the service of the realization of the hopes of the international community assures us that the international community has placed its confidence in the right person," he said. The Arab States looked forward to working with Mr. Annan to achieve the UN's objectives.
Speaking on behalf of the UN's host country, Ambassador James Cunningham of the United States said that in Mr. Annan "we have the personification of the international community: a global citizen who give voice to all the people of our United Nations." To the suffering he was a face of compassion, to those living under tyranny he personified human rights, and to those living in conflict, he embodied peace and justice. Ambassador Cunningham praised Mr. Annan's "characteristic humility" as well as the Secretary-General's "deep introspection, born of the conviction that we can improve, that we must improve." The United States pledged its support for Mr. Annan as he leads the United Nations into the future, he said.
At a press conference which followed the Assembly's meeting, Ambassador Roble Olhaye of Djibouti, who chaired a task force of African Ambassadors which monitored developments related to the candidacy of the Secretary-General, said that the African Group had urged Kofi Annan to consider serving another term "given the overwhelming goodwill and trust this gentle, calm, soft-spoken and unassuming individual has generated over the last five years of his leadership."
Commenting on today's re-election, Ambassador Olhaye said, "we are extremely elated." He added that the world was fortunate to Mr. Annan's "continued stewardship at this time of great change."