2 July 2001



Statement After Reappointment by General Assembly Cites Continuing
Challenges, Takes Special Note of This Week’s Action on HIV/AIDS Crisis

NEW YORK, 29 June (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of the statement to the General Assembly today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on his appointment to a second term of office:

I am deeply honoured by the decision you have just taken. Let me thank the President of the Security Council -- my good friend, Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury -- for proposing my reappointment, and thank all of you for the great honour you have done me.

When your predecessors re-appointed Dag Hammarskjöld to a second term in 1957, he said that no one could accept the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations -- "knowing what it means" -- except from a sense of duty. He immediately added, however, that no one could serve in that capacity "without a sense of gratitude for a task as deeply rewarding as it is exacting; as perennially inspiring as, sometimes, it may seem discouraging".

After four and a half years in the job, I can only echo both halves of his statement. I labour under a constant sense of obligation -- to you, the Members of the Organization; to all the world's peoples, whom you represent; and in particular to my fellow Africans, whom you have honoured in my person today. But at the same time I am sustained by a profound feeling of gratitude for the confidence you have placed in me, and for the encouragement and support I have received from so many quarters. I am well aware that, on my own, I could never have won that confidence, or earned that support.

Wherever I have travelled in these past four years, and whatever issues I have tackled, I have been inspired by the sacrifices that the staff of the United Nations make, every day, on behalf of the peoples we serve. In peacekeeping operations, in refugee camps, and in countless other missions of mercy and of hope, their dedication to the service of mankind is constant and unswerving. Whatever I have achieved, I owe it to their commitment and support, both in the field and at Headquarters.

It has been my privilege to serve as the Secretary-General at a time of sweeping change and great challenges. My aims, I hope, have been clear.

I have sought to equip this indispensable institution so that it can adjust to change, rise to new challenges, and serve its Member States and their peoples more effectively, while remaining true to the principles of the Charter. I have sought to turn an unflinching eye on the failures of our recent past, in order to assess more clearly what it will take for us to succeed in the future. I have sought to speak out in defence of those who cannot speak for themselves -- for the right of the poorest to development, and the right of the weakest and most vulnerable to protection. And I have sought to make universal human rights the touchstone of my work, in all their aspects, because I believe they belong to every faith, every culture, and every people.

Whether, or how far, I have succeeded in these aims is not for me to judge. I do know, however, that the task is far from done.

Just this week, we have taken the measure of one particular challenge, which twenty years ago we could not have imagined: the global scourge of HIV/AIDS.

As you know, I have made that issue a personal priority, and I am now convinced that the battle can be won. Thanks to this week's work, and the long months of preparation that preceded it, we at last have an agreed, comprehensive strategy. Now we must put it into action.

There are many other challenges, but I do not need to list them now. Your Heads of State and Government have given us our marching orders, in the Millennium Declaration they adopted last September. And next September, at the start of your 56th Session, I will put before you a programme for carrying out those orders, over the next five years.

For now, let me simply renew my oath of office:

I solemnly swear to exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience the functions entrusted to me as Secretary-General of the United Nations, to discharge these functions and regulate my conduct with the interests of the United Nations only in view, and not to seek or accept instructions in regard to the performance of my duties from any Government or other authority external to the Organization.

And let me add the hope, Mr. President, that five years from now the peoples of the world -- whom this Organization was founded to serve -- will feel that it is closer to them, working better to fulfil their needs, and putting their individual welfare at the centre of everything it does. Only if their confidence in the United Nations has been strengthened, will your confidence in me have been justified.

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