Press Releases

    SG/SM/9488
          HQ/633
     21 September 2004

    Renovated Facility Illustration of Switzerland Today -- Style, Quality, Function in Perfect Harmony, Secretary-General Says at Inauguration of GA-200

    NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks delivered today at Headquarters by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the inauguration of the renovated GA-200, presented by the Government of Switzerland:

    As you all know, renewal of the United Nations has been very much on our minds of late.  All of us who use this suite of rooms -- officials of the Member States and Secretariat alike -- owe Switzerland a debt of gratitude for giving us a vivid form of renewal in this very new facility. This is a space that works and that speaks of the future and also exemplifies what Switzerland is all about.

    I confess to having taken a sneak peek inside a few days ago to see how successful the renovation was.  So I know the new interior is also in many ways an illustration of Switzerland today:  style, quality and function in perfect harmony.

    You have taken a small and compact space, and made it both sleek in design and multi-functional in purpose -- like a Swiss army knife, if I may use that analogy, but with softer edges.

    Moreover, you have understood perfectly the need for a quiet haven behind the scenes of the General Assembly.  A place to focus one’s thoughts and hold one-on-one discussions with the many heads of State and heads of government who come here.  A place to gather strength before confronting the challenges ahead.

    As world leaders gather tomorrow for this year’s general debate, we know there will be many tests before us.

    At times like these it is especially good to know that the United Nations has a Member State as constructive and engaged as Switzerland.

    On behalf of the United Nations, I extend my sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Switzerland for this generous gift.

    I think I speak for the President of the General Assembly as much as for myself in saying that we will make very good use of it very often.

    And I would not be surprised if over time people say they will meet me in the “Swiss Salon”.

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