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    Press Release No:   UNIS/SG/2525
    Release Date:   23 March 2000
    Regional Institutions Have Vital Role in Global Mission for Peace and
    Development, Secretary-General Tells United Nations-CARICOM Meeting

     NEW YORK, 22 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the second meeting of representatives of the United Nations system and the Caribbean Community and its associate institutions, which will be held in the Bahamas on 27 and 28 March:

     It is a pleasure to extend my greetings to all, who have gathered for the second meeting between representatives of the United Nations System and the Caribbean Community and its Associate Institutions (CARICOM).  Regional organizations, such as CARICOM have a vital role to play in the United Nations' global mission of peace and development, and I look forward to deepening the ties between our two organizations.  Across the spectrum of our agendas, there are ample opportunities for common progress.

     The quest for sustainable development is one such area.  The small island developing states of the Caribbean are front-line zones where, in concentrated form, many of the main challenges of environment and development are unfolding.  As such, developments in your region have implications far beyond your shores, and you can help lead the way towards realizing the vision set out at the Earth Summit in 1992 and at Barbados, two years later.  The United Nations will continue to work with you to overcome your vulnerabilities and to implement the Barbados Programme of Action.

     CARICOM and the United Nations are also committed to democratization and development in Haiti.  That country continues to need international assistance, not least as it holds legislative elections and continues its efforts to recover, economically and politically, from decades of misrule.  CARICOM's electoral support, and the United Nations presence in the form of the International Civilian Support Mission (MICAH), are tangible expressions of a commitment to Haiti's well-being, a cause that will no doubt be helped now that Haiti has become a member of CARICOM.

     The United Nations looks forward to our continued collaboration in these and other realms.  CARICOM is among the regional organizations that have a formal Cooperation Agreement with the United Nations, and this arrangement has served us well.  Under the able leadership of Secretary-General Carrington, CARICOM continues to grow and forge real unity among its members.  The United Nations, for its part, is continuing to adapt itself to the demands and aspirations of a new millennium, and needs your support.  In that spirit of solidarity, please accept my best wishes for a fruitful meeting.

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