15 August 2001


NEW YORK, 14 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message from Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the 32nd Pacific Islands Forum, meeting in Nauru from 14 to 21 August, delivered on his behalf by Beng Yong Chew, Deputy Director, Asia and Pacific Division, Department of Political Affairs:

It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to President Rene Harris and to all the participants gathered in Nauru for the Pacific Islands Forum.

The relationship between the United Nations and the Pacific Islands Forum continues to grow stronger. This past February, the Forum attended for the first time what has become a regular series of meetings between the United Nations and the world's regional organizations. The United Nations Secretariat, also for the first time, took part in this year's meeting of the Forum's Regional Security Committee in Fiji. And the deployment of a United Nations Electoral Observation Mission for the general elections to be held in Fiji later this month, at the request of the caretaker Government, was yet another manifestation of the commitment of the United Nations to do its part to promote peace and democratic governance in the region.

Several countries in the region have yet to recover fully from the 1997 economic crisis, a reminder of the need for continued cooperation in the economic and financial spheres, in particular in institutional development. Of course, the challenges we face in an age of globalization oblige us to work together not only on the economic front, but also on social and environmental issues, and in the area of peace and security. You yourselves have recognized as much with the adoption last year of the landmark Biketawa Declaration, which should help improve regional cooperation in responding to political and security crises in the region.

The United Nations will continue to be your partner in your efforts to achieve your goals and our common vision of a peaceful and prosperous twenty-first century. In that spirit, please accept my congratulations on the occasion of the Forum's thirtieth anniversary, as well as my best wishes for a successful and productive session.

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