"WE MUST ENSURE THAT WHAT WE ACHIEVE HERE OPENS
NEW YORK, 3 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a toast by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a dinner hosted by Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, in Johannesburg on 2 September:
I am sure all those present tonight will join me in saying a resounding thank you to the Government and people of South Africa -- and above all to you personally, Mr. President -- for your abundant generosity in preparing for, and hosting, yet another summit.
For all of us involved in the World Summit on Sustainable Development process, your country’s dedication and hard work have been a tremendous source of support. While the road to Johannesburg has not always been smooth, we have always been able to count on your unwavering commitment to a successful outcome.
In fact, Mr. President, given the number of telephone conversations you and I have had over the past six months to try to move the preparations forward, my secretaries even suggested I install a special button on my phone -- marked "M" for Mbeki!
Your country’s commitment to sustainable development is firmly in line with the principles you have been upholding since the peaceful revolution that created your exemplary multi-racial, multi-party democracy.
In recent years, you have been projecting those principles more widely throughout the continent -- from your constructive role in peace processes to your engagement in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
You have demonstrated the kind of new, dynamic and principled leadership that Africa needs -- providing a source of inspiration not only to us Africans, but to people everywhere.
As we meet here this week, we all need inspiration to help us achieve the goal of the summit that has brought us together -- building a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. We will need to remain focused on that goal in months and years to come, for our work does not end here in Johannesburg. We must ensure that what we achieve here opens an era of implementation.
And so, Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a toast: to Johannesburg not as an end, but as a beginning; to a sustainable future for succeeding generations.
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