Global perspective Human stories

Annan voices appreciation for UN staff's loyalty and devotion during 'trying times'

Annan voices appreciation for UN staff's loyalty and devotion during 'trying times'

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today wrote to United Nations staff conveying his appreciation for the devotion and loyalty they continue to show during "trying times."

"For many of us, war and the suffering it causes are, sadly, familiar," the Secretary-General said in an open letter to UN staff. "Indeed, much of our task is dealing with the effects of war. That does not diminish our profound sadness at seeing the war unfold in Iraq. We worry about the broader, longer-term implications that this war might have for peace and security in the region, and throughout the world."

The Secretary-General also said he does not accept claims that the United Nations has failed because it could not prevent war or is doomed to irrelevance. "In fact, I think we can derive some encouragement from the fact that the United Nations, and specifically the Security Council, was both the focus and forum for an intense and sustained debate over several months on how best to disarm Iraq," he said.

"The world's people - including the people of Iraq - are looking to the United Nations," he added. "The Iraqi people urgently need out help, and we must make every effort to bring them humanitarian relief and assistance as soon as possible."

People everywhere will still look to the United Nations to carry on the daily struggle to prevent conflict, promote development and human rights, defeat poverty, protect the environment and fight global scourges that afflict mankind, the Secretary-General stressed.

"The months ahead promise to put our Organization to new tests," he said. "But what has never failed us in the life of our United Nations is the commitment of all of you, the staff. I know that you will see us safely through the challenges ahead."