26 June 2001


NEW YORK, 25 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the unfolding of the AIDS Memorial Quilt:

It is an honour for the United Nations to lay out this quilt today, and I thank our friends in the AIDS Memorial Quilt Movement for bringing it to us. The Quilt Movement is a wonderful example of the kind of response we need in facing up to HIV/AIDS. What began almost 15 years ago, as one commemoration of a loved one who died of AIDS, has since grown to 50,000 quilts worldwide.

While the tragedy of HIV/AIDS has been unfolding, the Quilt Movement has brought people together in a common cause. While the threat of AIDS has spread worldwide, so has the movement grown worldwide. While the quilts consist of many different pieces, each piece fits together with the others to form a patchwork of global solidarity.

It is a response that has measured up to the scale of the pandemic. We must all make sure that our response does the same.

As delegates from all over the world gather here today for the special session on HIV/AIDS, I hope this quilt will inspire them to join together, like the panels in this patchwork, in a movement of global solidarity against AIDS. To all the members of the Memorial Quilt Movement, and to all the people whose lives it has commemorated, I offer my profound gratitude.

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