5 September 2001


NEW YORK, 4 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Conference on Mongolia - United Nations Cooperation, delivered on his behalf in Ulaanbaatar by Vladimir Petrovsky, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva, on 3 September:

It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all the participants in this conference on cooperation between Mongolia and the United Nations.

Mongolia has been a valued member of the United Nations for 40 years, playing an active role in issues ranging from economic and social development to illiteracy and disarmament. Mongolia has also drawn attention to the unique challenges facing the world's landlocked countries.

Mongolia's commitment to the United Nations can also be seen in the enthusiasm with which Mongolians have welcomed the Organization into their own country. United Nations specialized agencies have implemented programmes -- for the advancement of women, to preserve the environment, and more -- that are among the most innovative in the world. The United Nations is also proud to be involved in Mongolia's moves towards democracy and a free and fair market economy.

And of course, Mongolia can count on the United Nations for support in times of need. Your country has been struck by two consecutive dzuds, which have had devastating effects on people and livestock. I have urged the international community to respond generously to the appeal launched by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance. Indeed, it was during an emergency needs assessment mission led by the United Nations last year that nine people lost their lives in a tragic helicopter accident in the province of Uvs. The immediate response of the Mongolian Government to the needs of the survivors was exemplary. As the people of Mongolia continue to recover from these natural disasters, rest assured that the United Nations will be by your side.

Mongolia is proof that all countries, large or small, wealthy or not, can engage in a mutually beneficial partnership with the United Nations. This conference offers a timely opportunity to reflect upon the results that this partnership has achieved thus far, but more importantly to determine the priorities for our collaboration in the future. In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a productive and successful conference.

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