Press Releases

     

    SG/SM/8777
    AFR/661
    11 July 2003

    SECRETARY-GENERAL ANNAN CALLS ON AFRICAN LEADERS
    TO POINT WAY TO TOLERANCE, UNDERSTANDING AND
    PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT

    NEW YORK, 10 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks made by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the African Union Heads of State prayer breakfast in Maputo, Mozambique on 10 July:

    I am honoured to join you at this prayer breakfast, at a time when some seek to divide the human family by exploiting differences among peoples, including here in Africa.  I think it is fitting that you, as leaders of Africa and men and women of faith, have come together in prayer.

    By gathering this morning before we begin discussions on the future of the African Union, we reaffirm our various faiths and those of the peoples of Africa, and humbly seek the blessings of God on our continent.

    All the great religions recognize the sanctity of human life and call for us to show tolerance and understanding and to resolve our differences peacefully.  Our faiths tell us that it is possible to cherish what we are without hating what we are not.

    But our experience tells us that the peoples of the world, as they struggle to earn their daily bread, are sometimes fed a diet of ignorance, fear and brutality.  Their passions are aroused, not to fight injustice or intolerance, but to exploit the weak, terrorize the innocent, or maim and kill those who are different from them.  Sadly, so-called men of religion sometimes invoke the name of God to justify violence against their fellow human beings.

    But I believe we have a duty to love those of our own faiths, those of other faiths, and those of no faith.  As leaders, we must summon the moral courage to stand against those who encourage violence and hatred.  Instead, we must point the way to tolerance, understanding and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

    If we can do that, I believe we can, through God’s grace, become the instruments of His will here on earth.  Thank you very much.

     

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