Press Releases

    18 October 2002


    NEW YORK, 17 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on receiving the Order of Dostyk from Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, in Astana today:

    You have truly honoured me by giving me the Order of Dostyk today. I know that Dostyk means friendship in your language. I cannot think of a theme that is of greater significance and relevance in Kazakhstan today:

    • Friendship among your peoples, across ethnic lines, giving life to the concept of unity in diversity;

    • Friendship with your neighbouring countries, through regional cooperation and conflict prevention; and

    • Friendship with the United Nations, your partner in the work for enduring peace and development.

    I arrived only a few hours ago on this first visit to Kazakhstan, but even before that I had reason to be impressed by your country -- a country known for the richness of its traditions and the determination of its people.

    In the decade that has passed since independence, you have achieved a transition from a command to a market economy; you have attained an enviable rate of economic growth and investment; you have maintained stability inside your country, and shown leadership in regional confidence-building measures; and you have taken a courageous stance on nuclear disarmament, for the benefit of the entire region.

    The work for enduring peace requires the engagement of everyone. It needs sustained and effective attention -- from the Government in power, from political parties, and, above all, from a dynamic and vigilant civil society. Such a vigorous approach constitutes the best guarantee of the fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

    Equally, the work for peace is inextricably linked with the work for development. The foundations of peace are much stronger when people can see that poverty is being reduced, that society is becoming more just, and that these gains can be sustained in the future.

    I know that in the struggle for development, your country faces considerable challenges -- from the spread of HIV/AIDS to drug-trafficking and grave environmental concerns.

    As you work to address these challenges, you will have the full support of the United Nations family.

    And I promise that I shall always treasure this Order of Dostyk as a symbol of our friendship.

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