SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES "SPIRIT OF OPENNESS, TOLERANCE" AS CÔTE D’IVOIRE FORUM FOR NATIONAL RECONCILIATION OPENS
NEW YORK, 11 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message (originally delivered in French, on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahima Fall) of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Forum for National Reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire:
It is with very great pleasure that I extend my greetings to you on the occasion of this Forum for National Reconciliation.
I am pleased that, at the initiative of the President of the Republic, the men and women of Côte d’Ivoire have decided to engage in an open and frank dialogue in the context of this Forum for National Reconciliation. I should like to congratulate all the political, social, cultural and religious elements of Côte d’Ivoire for organizing this important forum, the goal of which is to restore social peace, political stability and national cohesion with a view to achieving sustainable development for the benefit of all.
This initiative is crucial to the future of your country and it is being closely watched by the subregion, in which your nation occupies a central place, by the African continent, the parent organization of which is currently headed by a son of this country, and by the international community, in which Côte d’Ivoire plays an important role. That is why I strongly urge you to conduct your meeting in a spirit of openness, tolerance and compromise. If you are to succeed in laying the bases for a future of peace and stability for present and future generations, it is essential that you demonstrate a political will marked by the seal of brotherhood and renewed national unity.
Given that genuine national reconciliation cannot be achieved in a day, but takes time, it is vital that you pursue your efforts beyond this Forum, on the basis of whatever conclusions you may reach. The United Nations is prepared to support any commitment that has the backing of all the men and women of Côte d’Ivoire.
It is in that spirit that I wish this Forum for National Reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire every success.
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