11 September 2001


11 September 2001

NEW YORK, 10 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a message from Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of International Day Of Peace (11 September):

The International Day of Peace is a day on which we try to imagine a world quite different from the one we know.

We try to picture those who wage war laying down their arms and talking out their differences.

We try to picture all governments listening to -- and acting on -- the will of the people.

We try to picture hatred turning into respect, bigotry turning into understanding, and ignorance turning into knowledge.

And we try to picture the very root causes of conflict -- poverty, marginalization and greed -- giving way to development and justice.

We do this because progress in our world does not happen without someone first having a vision or a dream.

The International Day of Peace started with such a dream. It was proclaimed 20 years ago by the United Nations General Assembly, at the initiative of Costa Rica.

This year, at the initiative of Costa Rica and the United Kingdom, the Assembly decided to go one step further. It declared that the International Day of Peace should be a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

This step promises to be more than symbolic. Where respected, it will have practical effect. Where truces are observed, medical and developmental agencies can provide vital services to civilian victims in safety. And even a one-day pause in the fighting gives us something to build on in the work to end conflict.

On this International Day of Peace, let us dare to imagine a world free of conflict and violence. And let us seize the opportunity for peace to take hold, day by day, year by year, until every day is a day of peace.

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