For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No: UNIS/SG/2652
Release Date:  7 September 2000
 Summit Starts Well, Secretary-General Tells Summit Luncheon

 NEW YORK, 6 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the Secretary-General’s toast at a luncheon he hosted for heads of State and government on the first day of the Millennium Summit.

 C'est un très grand plaisir pour moi de vous accueillir aux Nations Unies pour cette réunion exceptionnelle.

 Never have so many heads of State and government been in the same room at the same time.  As we break a new record, I trust we will not sound to the world like a broken record, stuck in the same groove.  I hope this unprecedented assembly of leaders will also set a new record in leadership. 

 You have the authority to speak for, and ability to transform the lives of 6 billion people.  I invite you to consider the enormity of that thought. From what I saw and heard this morning, we are on the right track.  I hope we can keep the momentum going.  

 Three weeks ago, following a brief and restful holiday in Ghana, I went hiking in the Swiss Alps towards another kind of summit.  A stranger to the terrain, I asked Adolf Ogi, the President of the country, to show me a few ropes and he, the son of a guide, kindly agreed.  As we set out, I was reminded of an old African proverb, some version of which probably exists in most of your languages too:  even the longest journey begins with just one step. 

 That is what I hope this Summit will be:  that first and decisive step on a new journey we undertake together.  I hope you will be the guides who keep us on the right track and who keep our momentum going.  As we set off together, I ask you, Excellencies and friends, to join me in a toast:  à ce chemin que nous allons parcourir ensemble, du monde que nous connaissons à celui auquel nous aspirons.  Merci beaucoup.

* * * * *