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Statement on the Appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff, Acting U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks in the General Assembly
New York City
December 14, 2006

Madame President, we salute today Secretary General Kofi Annan for his decade of dedicated service as the UN's chief diplomat and administrator.

Since early in his first term, Kofi Annan has worked tirelessly to make the UN a more efficient and effective organization. He has understood the need for the UN to evolve and reform to meet the challenges of today's world, and to use its resources wisely to better serve its member states and the millions of people who look to the UN to help them improve their lives.

  • He has used his good offices and the resources of the UN to address numerous conflicts, potential conflicts, and other threats to international peace and security, and was recognized for his efforts with a Nobel Peace Prize.
  • He has done his utmost to ensure that Africa has remained prominent on the global agenda, to keep the world's attention focused on that continent's security, humanitarian, and development needs.
  • He has been a strong voice condemning terrorism, and has pushed the UN to do its part in the global struggle against extremism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and terrorist threats.
  • He has been a champion of human rights, urging governments to respect the rights of their own citizens, to speak out in response to human rights violations anywhere, and to make the UN's own human rights machinery more effective.
  • He rightly recognized that the UN needed to reach out to the private sector, for resources and expertise, and has led the way in forming productive new partnerships with NGOs and business.
  • He has been an intellectual force in global dialogue, providing a steady stream of ideas and proposals that helped shape the framework of the Millennium Declaration and the 2005 World Summit.

Perhaps his overriding goal has been to make the UN, its programs and services more accessible and more responsive to the needs of ordinary people, and especially to those who often find themselves at particular disadvantage - women, children, refugees, the displaced, and the poor.

Kofi Annan has many other accomplishments to his credit, large and small, in his ten years of service and leadership as Secretary General, and over his entire 44-year career with the United Nations. He has been driven by his beliefs that the individual matters, that nations can act together to make the world a better place, and that the United Nations was the instrument for turning his beliefs into action.

Madame President, beginning January 1, the UN Secretariat will be entrusted to the capable hands of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who commands our full respect. In his long and distinguished career, he has served with honor and integrity. We have no doubt these virtues will carry over into his tenure here as Secretary General. We have full confidence in his abilities, his good will, and his desire to serve and to achieve. A number of challenges remain, particularly in the area of management reform. We look forward to working with the new Secretary General and other member states to achieve our shared goal of making the United Nations stronger and more effective and thus further honor Kofi Annan's vision.

Released on December 14, 2006

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