Press Releases

    5 March 2002


    NEW YORK, 4 March (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued on 3 March by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the "Yes" outcome of the Swiss referendum on United Nations membership:

    The Secretary-General is delighted that the people of Switzerland have voted in favour of membership of the United Nations. He warmly welcomes this expression of faith and commitment to the work and ideals of the Organization.

    Switzerland has long been a member of many agencies and programmes of the United Nations family, has ratified numerous United Nations treaties, and is host to the second largest United Nations centre in the world. It is, thus, already an active and generous participant in the wider United Nations family, and brings to the Organization valuable experience and know-how in areas at the forefront of the United Nations agenda.

    Now, Switzerland’s entry as a full Member will enable it to make its voice heard and influence felt across the full range of the United Nations’ work. It will also mark an important step towards completing the universality of the Organization. The Secretary-General underlines that Switzerland is, in many ways, a vivid example of what the United Nations stands for -- a tolerant, peaceful and multicultural society built on democratic values -- and recalls that his personal fondness for the Swiss nation and people dates back to his student days in Geneva. He looks forward to Switzerland’s engaged and constructive participation in the work of the Organization, and extends his warmest welcome to this first new Member State of the new millennium.

    * *** *