Press Releases

    SG/SM/9481
          15 September 2004

    Secretary-General, in Remarks at Holy Family Church, Says Service Offers Solace, Source of Strength as UN Prepares for Trials Ahead

    NEW YORK, 14 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following are Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks at the Holy Family Church in New York, 13 September:

    Let me thank the Parish of the Holy Family Church for organizing this service, as it does every year.

    We in the United Nations family have come to depend on this annual event, both as solace while we contemplate the tribulations of the past year, and as a source of strength as we prepare to take on the trials of the year ahead.

    In this way, the Holy Family Church provides a much-needed sense of continuity in the midst of the challenges that never cease to confront our Organization.

    And challenges there will be many in the coming year.

    We continue to grapple with turmoil in Iraq.  The people of Darfur continue to require urgent protection.  Unconscionable acts of terrorism continue to claim the lives of innocent children, women and men.  The AIDS crisis continues to kill thousands every day. Millions continue to be afflicted by armed conflict, human rights violations, disease and dire poverty.

    I cannot enumerate here and a now more than a fraction of the issues facing us. But I can say that that there has never been a more pressing need for us to strengthen the system of collective security, to forge a true global partnership for development, and to promote greater tolerance and understanding among the peoples of the world.

    Dear friends, that is the serious work that lies before the international community. And so, as all the world’s nations prepare to meet for the General Assembly next week, let us pray for our United Nations.

    Let us pray that whatever the challenges and crises that confront us, we may make this indispensable instrument as effective as it can be.

    Let us pray that world leaders find the wisdom and the will to use this tool to its full capacity, in the interests of the people it exists to serve.

    Let us pray for peace in the family of nations, and let us hope this coming year will be a little more peaceful than the one just past.

    Thank you very much.

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