On 50th anniversary of Korean armistice, Annan urges resolution to nuclear issue

25 July 2003

Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Korean War’s truce agreement, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stresses that resolving the conflict, and the related nuclear and security issues, should remain a top priority.

“The current controversy over the nuclear weapons programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a sobering reminder of the risks that this unfinished business poses to the region, to the world at large, and above all to the people of both Koreas,” Mr. Annan said in a message released today to commemorate the Korean War Armistice Agreement, which was signed on 27 July 1953.

He underscores that “resolving the nuclear and related security issues has got to be the most pressing priority. A diplomatic solution is imperative. It is also a realistic possibility. There is a strong international consensus that the Korean Peninsula should be free of nuclear weapons.”

Mr. Annan said his Personal Envoy, Maurice Strong, would intensify his efforts to help avert a humanitarian calamity in the DPRK, defuse current tensions and prepare for a new era of peaceful development.

“This fiftieth anniversary offers an opportunity to disperse the ominous cloud that, for too long, has threatened the stability and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula,” the Secretary-General says, calling on the international community to “join in a sustained effort towards a reunified Korea and a peace that will last for generations to come.”

Only a comprehensive settlement covering a wide range of security, military, political, human rights and economic issues culminating in a peace treaty will prevent the recurrence of new crises, Mr. Annan points out.


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