10 July 2003


NEW YORK, 7 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the International Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians, in Niamey, Niger, 6-9 July:

As I have said on many occasions, our two Organizations share many fundamental values and goals:  shared values because they are both founded on the principles of diversity, dialogue and multilateralism, which they not only embody but also put into practice on a daily basis; shared goals because they both seek to bring nations together, prevent conflicts, sow the seeds of democracy and promote development.

Like the United Nations, the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF) is intended as a space for reflection, discussion and consultation on issues as diverse and significant as political rights and freedoms, education and communication, and democracy and the rule of law.  In particular, the International Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians, which brings together the elected representatives of countries using French as a common language, provides a useful forum for debate and dissemination of the values of peace and development.  It is at once the manifestation and the instrument of solidarity between parliamentary institutions of the French-speaking world.

At a time when, regrettably, many member States of OIF are affected by war, the work of your Assembly takes on even greater importance.  I am particularly pleased to see that the agenda of this twenty-ninth session gives priority to women and young people. Experience has shown that, in general, the most effective efforts in favour of peace rely on the participation of these two sections of the population.

In many areas of the world, and in Africa in particular, OIF is working to restore constitutional order, to strengthen the rule of law and to prepare the ground for the holding of free and fair elections.  The United Nations General Assembly recognizes the part that OIF is playing in international efforts to resolve conflicts and encourages it to cooperate more closely with the United Nations in the area of electoral assistance and the promotion of democracy.

Within the framework of that cooperation, the United Nations assisted in the organization of a symposium on the practices of democracy, rights and freedoms in the French-speaking world.  The political declaration adopted on that occasion states that la Francophonie and democracy cannot be dissociated, and, therefore, implies an explicit rejection of the seizure of power by force.


I wish to commend OIF on the role it has played in a number of national reconciliation processes, in particular in the Comoros and Côte d'Ivoire.  In each case, its timely intervention and the efforts of its most influential members have, without a doubt, contributed to diffusing the crisis.

Peace and development cannot subsist for long without democracy and good governance.  Parliamentarians throughout the world are particularly well placed to influence those issues, which are of serious concern to the international community.


I wish the International Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians every success at its twenty-ninth session.


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