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    Press Release No: UNIS/SG/2656
    Release Date:  11 September 2000
     Accepting Gift from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 
    Secretary General Praises Its "Courage and Character"

    NEW YORK, 8 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, delivered on his behalf by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Bernard Miyet, on the presentation of a gift from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in New York on 8 September:

    I am delighted to join the Government and people of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in celebrating your country’s seven years of commitment to the ideals of the United Nations.  Let me express my deep gratitude for your active and constructive engagement in the work of the United Nations, and for this beautiful and generous gift.

    Your country's noted surrealist painter, Vasko Taskovski, has created a moving and inspirational interpretation of the dove, the world’s most widely recognized symbol of peace.  As the dove in this painting encircles the earth, it seems to capture the very essence of the aspiration expressed in the United Nations Charter:  “to practise tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours".

    The concept of good neighbourliness is especially poignant in the case of your country.  In the midst of tragic bloodshed in the Balkans, you retained a fragile peace.  In the aftermath of the region's conflicts, you have done more.  You have championed the rights of minorities; you have taken an active part in regional and international organizations; you have sought to build good relations with all your neighbours.

    Although yours is a young Republic, your people are endowed with a long history rich in antecedence, courage and character.  Today, much like the dove of this painting, Macedonia has broken free of tensions and barriers and is soaring into the future. 

    Here at the United Nations this week, as we prepare to conclude the Millennium Summit, I hope we will all resolve to do the same.  I hope we will be inspired by this dove to move beyond old limitations and boundaries to join forces for peace in every sense of the word.  And I hope that in the years to come, the dove encircling the earth will serve as a constant reminder of the cardinal mission of our Organization.  On behalf of the United Nations, Blagodaram. Ju falemenderit.

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