Press Releases

     

    SG/SM/8826
    IK/377
    21 August 2003

    HOW CAN WE THANK LOST COLLEAGUES?
    VOW EACH DAY TO COMPLETE WORK THEY BEGAN,
    SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL IN VIDEO MESSAGE

     

    NEW YORK, 20 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s video message following the bomb attack on the United Nations Mission in Iraq, delivered 20 August:

    Many of us will remember the 19th of August 2003 as the darkest day in our lives at the United Nations.  We have lost irreplaceable colleagues, who went to Iraq with no other mission than to help the people of that country regain their full sovereignty and independence, under leaders of their own choosing.  Those colleagues have been murdered, for reasons we will never understand.  Sergio Vieira de Mello and those with him have been taken from us, and from the people they were working to assist, by an act so savage and senseless that we can hardly believe it really happened.  It feels like a nightmare, from which we are still hoping to wake.  If only it were. 

    Today, our thoughts and prayers go to the loved ones of those who have perished.  They go to our colleagues in Baghdad who are wounded, or who have survived only to grapple with a trauma few of us can fully imagine.  We pay homage to all of them for the courageous and committed way they have been doing their jobs over the past weeks and months.  We pay tribute to all those still working there, in spite of all the difficulties -- and dangers.

    How can we thank our lost colleagues for their life’s contribution?  Only by vowing to work on, every day, to complete the work that they began.  So let me send this message to all of you, dear colleagues, as well as to the people of Iraq:  We will not be deterred.  We will go on doing whatever we can to help build a better future for the Iraqi people.

    Those extremists who target innocent civilians in this kind of attack are not doing anything for Iraq or its people.  They have committed an unspeakable crime, not only against the United Nations, but against Iraq itself.

    Only by carrying on with our mission can we begin to do justice to the memory of our slain colleagues.  May God bless them.  May their souls rest in peace.  Thank you very much.

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