29 September 2003





NEW YORK, 26 September (UN Headquarters) -- The following remarks were made by Secretary-General Kofi Annan upon receiving a personal award from the Government of the State of Qatar today:


  Mr. Foreign Minister,


It is a great pleasure to welcome you here to United Nations Headquarters. Every General Assembly session is important, but this one, given the events of the last six months, should be more important than most. I am glad you have been able to come and be part of the debate. And I look forward to the statement you will be making later this afternoon.


Thank you for this beautiful “necklace of independence”. It is a great honour to be presented with the highest national decoration of Qatar. I regard this gesture not only as an individual award, but also as a sign of your strong commitment to the United Nations.


Qatar has been a valued Member State for more than three decades. You have been especially dynamic in recent years, hosting a number of important global meetings and actively pursuing modernization and democratization.


This necklace depicts many aspects of Qatari life -– modern and traditional, urban and rural. The lettering includes the words for justice, science and morality. I believe this imagery tells us something important about the people of Qatar, and also contains a message for the United Nations.


The issues and images that make up the necklace are linked. So, too, are the Member States of the United Nations, in a chain of influences and interactions. Among my hopes for this session of the General Assembly is that this point will hit home, and that the happy results will be a revitalized multilateralism for the common good.


Let me thank you again, and please convey my gratitude to the Government and people of Qatar.







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