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Annan urges Europeans to play lead role in talks on new collective security structure

Annan urges Europeans to play lead role in talks on new collective security structure

Kofi Annan
Continuing a campaign to promote support for a new global security structure, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged European countries meeting in Brussels to use their experience in building an economic and political union to play a leading role in developing a collective model for meeting future threats to peace.

In a statement to the European Council, Mr. Annan said “full European engagement will be essential” to the discussions on the recently released report of a high-level panel he commissioned to look at emerging global challenges and ways to deal with them.

The “common destiny” European nations have pursued for many decades now “proved to yourselves and to others that former rivals and enemies can replace horror with hope,” he stressed.

“That success means the world now looks to you to support a global multilateral framework. Nowhere is that support more essential today than in equipping ourselves to meet the perils ahead,” he added.

Mr. Annan noted the steady growth in recent years in cooperation between the European and the United Nations, and said the strength of that partnership “gives me great hope” that far-reaching progress can be made on readying the international community to meet the threats of the 21st century.

The report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change places a strong emphasis on prevention, and on building the capacities of nations to deal with threats and fulfil their responsibilities, he said. “Taken together, the 101 recommendations in the report offer the prospect of effective global policies and a renewed United Nations.”

But European nations need to play a role not only at a proposed summit in September 2005, just ahead of the opening of the next session of the General Assembly, but also in the process leading up to it, by working to bridge divergent views and find a broad consensus.

“If 2003 was a year of deep division, and 2004 has been a time of sober reflection, 2005 must be a year of bold action,” he declared. “Historic, fundamental progress is possible. There is much to be done. I do not underestimate the difficulties. But we must succeed. Together, we can and must build a safer, prosperous, more just world.”

While in Brussels, Mr. Annan met privately with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and held talks in the afternoon with Javier Solana, the European Union’s High Level Representative for Common, Foreign and Security Policy. He then saw Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt for a detailed discussion of the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In the evening, Mr. Annan was to meet first with José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and then with the EU Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

Earlier Friday, the Secretary-General held a press conference with the President of the European Council, Jan Balkenende, Mr. Barroso, Mr. Solana and Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard R. Bot.

Asked about Cyprus, Mr. Annan said that he had indicated that the parties should reflect on how they want to move ahead. “Once that reflection is done and they have some ideas, my good offices could be available,” he said, but added, “for the moment, I have no plans to resume the talks.”

Yesterday, before leaving for Brussels, the Secretary-General concluded talks in Washington, DC, with senior US officials by meeting with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

According to a UN spokesman, the two had a “very positive and substantive” meeting on a whole range of issues, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Haiti, Liberia and the Middle East peace process – most notably the upcoming Palestinian presidential elections.