|For information only - not an official document.|
|4 October 2000|
| Secretary-General, in Message on Anniversary of German Unification,
Says Event Transformed Germany, Europe and World
NEW YORK, 3 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the tenth anniversary of German unification, read by Kurt Biedenkopf, President of the Federal Council and Minister President of Saxony, at a ceremony in Dresden on 3 October:
The unification of East and West Germany on 3 October 1990 was a transforming event for Germany, for Europe and for the world. Certainly, the process of unification has encountered serious economic, social and spiritual difficulties, and great pain and sacrifice have accompanied the monumental transition in eastern
What freed Germany also helped to free the United Nations. The tensions, arms race and ideological rivalry of the cold war that had divided Germany also divided the United Nations, nowhere so detrimentally as in the Security Council. Though the United Nations was able to work around this divide and advance many parts of its agenda, on key questions of peace and security the Organization was sometimes hobbled or pushed to the sidelines. Even today, unity of the Security Council is by no means assured, and unity itself is no guarantee of success. But the Council's new freedom to find agreement is a major positive development for the international community.
The most prominent visual monument of the division of Germany was the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin -- the product and symbol of a Government that feared its own people, and a monument to the perversity of human nature. Let us all be thankful that the wall is now a memory. Thanks to the initiative of the President of the German Parliament, Wolfgang Thierse, a small remnant of it will soon be on permanent display at the United Nations Headquarters.
Overcoming division is never easy; nor is bringing people together. But German unification shows that it can be done -- not by violence but by peaceful demonstrations and rational compromise. In that spirit, I congratulate the people of Germany on what they have achieved thus far, and I look forward to their vital contribution to the objectives of the United Nations in the twenty- first century.
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