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    UNIS/SG/2464
     8 December 1999
    Secretary-General Thanks Canada for Sustained Support of United Nations, 
    With ‘Vision and Profound Understanding’ of Global Mission

     

    Montreal Speech Lauds Role in Peacekeeping, Food Security, Other Issues; Notes Initiative on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts

     NEW YORK, 7 December (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan this evening at a gala in Montreal organized by the United Nations Association (UNA) of Canada:
     

     Je suis très heureux d’être ici avec vous ce soir, parmi mes amis et ceux des Nations Unies.  Permettez-moi tout d’abord de remercier toutes les hautes personnalités canadiennes qui, par leur présence, manifestent une fois de plus leur soutien à l’ONU. 

     Je remercie aussi toute l’équipe de l’Association canadienne pour les Nations Unies, à qui nous devons cette magnifique soirée.  Enfin, je tiens à saluer tous ceux qui, en répondant à l’invitation de l’Association, sont venus soutenir notre cause commune. 

     In few places would it be more appropriate to talk about a common cause.  Believe me, it is not my intention to diminish the wonderful job done by UNA Canada.  They can truly take pride in being a window into our work, and a channel for Canadians to become engaged in critical international issues affecting us all.  But no one can fail to see that they start with two great advantages:  a nation that cares and a Government that leads by example.

     Of course, what is a blessing for UNA Canada is also a blessing for the United Nations.  For over 50 years, thousands of Canadians have made invaluable contributions to the work of the United Nations system, in areas ranging from peacekeeping to food security, and from international justice to United Nations reform.  From Lester Pearson to Louise Fréchette, all share, or shared, a special commitment, a special vision, and a pride in being responsible world citizens.

     Over the years, many brave Canadians have also given their lives for the cause of peace.  Today I would like to pay tribute to one of them in particular, Daniel Rowan.  A young and enthusiastic Canadian government official, he died on his way to Pristina before he had a chance to contribute, as he wanted, to 

    rebuilding the prison system in Kosovo.  As we continue with our difficult task in that devastated region, he will not be forgotten.

     Kosovo is just one of the many burning issues Canada has had to address as a current member of the Security Council.  While chairing the Council, Canada also made a point of putting a closely related but much wider issue on the Council’s agenda:  the protection of civilians in armed conflicts.

     I agree very strongly that this is a matter the international community needs to tackle urgently.  The systematic targeting of civilians is a horrifying new trend in armed conflicts, be it in Europe, in Africa or in Asia.

     It is also, unfortunately, only one of many issues, old and new, that stand in the way of a safer world for future generations.  By putting emphasis on human security, Canada shows it shares the UN’s vision of a peace that is more than the absence of war.  Canada’s leading role in the fight against landmines, its promotion of sustainable development and its concrete initiatives in the area of peacebuilding -- all this shows your country’s profound understanding of our mission:  to help create a world in which societies can grow, and can manage their differences without violence.

     When I say ‘our mission’, I mean it.  We are all in this together: international organizations, governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations and citizens.  Our successes are common successes.  Our problems are common problems.  Our future is a common future. 

     Dans moins d’un mois, un siècle nouveau s’ouvrira devant nous.  Si vous êtes ici, c’est que vous comprenez combien ce siècle aura encore besoin des Nations Unies.  Et si vous êtes ici, c’est que vous comprenez combien les Nations Unies auront encore besoin de votre confiance, de votre appui et de votre participation.   Je sais que nous pouvons compter sur vous.

     Je vous remercie et vous souhaite une excellente soirée.
     
     


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