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Annan welcomes Switzerland’s request to join UN

Annan welcomes Switzerland’s request to join UN

Kofi Annan with Swiss Permanent Representative Jeno Staehelin
Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed Switzerland’s intention to join the United Nations, saying that the country’s involvement in UN activities and its long-time role as host to many of the organization’s agencies has already given it a “head start” in knowing what it takes to be a member of the UN family.

Meeting with the Swiss Permanent Observer to the UN, Jeno Staehelin, who presented a letter from President Kasper Villiger requesting that Switzerland join the world body, the Secretary-General said he was “delighted” that the country decided in a referendum last March that it wanted to join the UN.

“Switzerland is in many ways a vivid example of what the United Nations stands for – a tolerant, peaceful and multicultural society built on democratic values,” Mr. Annan said.

He noted that Switzerland was already a major UN centre, playing host to the organization’s second largest duty station in the world, and has long been a member of numerous UN agencies and programmes as well as a party to many UN treaties.

“I am sure that as a full member, Switzerland will put this knowledge to good use and will make its voice heard across the breadth of our work,” Mr. Annan said.

Looking forward to the country’s “constructive participation” in the UN’s work he said, “I will be the first, once the Security Council and General Assembly act on this letter, to welcome Switzerland warmly and fully into the UN family.”