19 March 2004
As Pan African Parliament Holds Inaugural Meeting, Secretary-General Offers Congratulations, UN Assistance
NEW YORK, 18 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annans message to the inaugural meeting of the Pan African Parliament of the African Union, delivered by Tuliameni Kalomoh, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in Addis Ababa, 18 March:
I am very pleased to convey my best wishes to the Members of the African Union on the launch of the Pan African Parliament. With the inaugural meeting of this important body, the Union marks yet another significant milestone in its quest to strengthen democratic institutions, implement NEPAD, and promote unity and stability in Africa. The United Nations is honoured to be associated with these noble objectives and the important achievement that this occasion signifies.
This inauguration marks the realization of the long-held commitment by African leaders to establish at the continental level a body truly representative of the peoples of Africa. The advisory and consultative powers of this body will play a key role in shaping the future of the Union and of Africa as a whole. Through the Pan African Parliament, the authentic voice of the peoples of Africa at long last will have a more direct influence on policy and action in the Union.
Your wise counsel will be crucial in guiding the development of all the institutions of the Union as it strives to guide Africas future. The United Nations has been working intensively with the AU to elaborate effective concepts and strategies aimed at enhancing the operational effectiveness of these institutions. We will continue to do so as the Union takes specific steps to translate into reality its vision of greater integration, development and peace.
I warmly congratulate the founding members of the Pan African Parliament, and send them my encouragement as they prepare to meet the daunting challenges that lie ahead. These challenges will engage all your judgement and leadership, but I am confident that you will prove equal to the task. The United Nations remains committed to assisting you in every way possible.
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