SECRETARY-GENERAL HAILS GROWING COOPERATION
NEW YORK, 15 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following is a message delivered today on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the thirty-third Pacific Islands Forum being held in Suva, Fiji, from 15 to 20 August:
It gives me great pleasure to send warm greetings to Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and to all the participants gathered in Fiji for the Pacific Islands Forum. Cooperation between the United Nations and the Pacific Islands Forum continues to grow stronger, deeper and wider. The participation of the Forum’s representatives in meetings between the United Nations and regional organizations, as well as the attendance of the United Nations Secretariat at the Forum’s Regional Security Committee meetings, have already proven most useful for both our organizations.
The involvement of the United Nations in the electoral processes in Fiji and the Solomon Islands, and in the facilitation of the peace process in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, are other manifestations of the United Nations commitment to assisting the Pacific countries in maintaining peace and promoting democratic governance in the region.
The challenges we face in this age of globalization oblige all countries and regions to work together in all spheres of human activity -- on the economic front, on social, environmental and development issues, and in the area of peace and security. By adopting the landmark Biketawa Declaration, the Pacific countries have recognized the need to improve regional cooperation in responding to political and security crises in the region. I also welcome the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of resolution 56/41 entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the Pacific Islands Forum", which provides a solid basis for enhancing cooperation between our two organizations, especially in peace-building and conflict prevention. The Forum meeting in Fiji presents an excellent opportunity to exchange views on this matter.
In just two weeks’ time, the world will gather to discuss issues of the utmost importance to the Pacific countries when we meet in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. I know you have been and continue to be fully engaged in the crucial work to seek a successful outcome there.
And I know our partnership will continue to deepen and expand as we pursue our common vision of a peaceful and prosperous twenty-first century. In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful and productive session.
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