13 November 2003


NEW YORK, 12 November (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan upon receiving the “Orden del Sol” decoration yesterday (11 November) in Lima, Peru:

It is a great honour to be visiting Peru and to be awarded the “Orden del Sol del Peru”, your country’s highest civilian award.

I take this recognition as an expression of your strong and enduring commitment to the United Nations and its global mission of peace, development and human rights.  That commitment comes in many forms -- from the principled to the practical.

As a founding Member of the United Nations, Peru brings an important voice to the Organization’s work:  the voice of a country that is home to considerable human diversity, including the rich heritage of its indigenous peoples; a country of formidable natural resources and historic riches; a country that has known the ravages of foreign conquest and internal political upheaval -- and yet has brought enormous determination to its current quest for democracy.

Peru is an active member of the United Nations and active in United Nations debates.  Peruvian nationals have served with distinction throughout the Secretariat, throughout the world -- including, of course, my predecessor Javier Perez de Cuellar, who was also my boss, and from whom I learnt a great deal.  Four Peruvians are among the men and women of many nations who have given their lives for peace in the service of the United Nations -- and they are remembered at a memorial to fallen staff that was unveiled last month at our Headquarters in New York.

Peruvian military personnel are serving today in United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Ethiopia and Eritrea, as they did in the past in Mozambique and the Middle East.  During this visit, I will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding covering Peru’s participation in our standby forces arrangements, in which governments indicate what sort of support they would be prepared to provide if they decide to participate in a peacekeeping operation.  Those standby arrangements help us improve our planning, and deploy forces more quickly, and I am very pleased that Peru will be strengthening its participation in peacekeeping in this way.

Peru’s support is especially welcome at this very crucial moment for the United Nations.  Recent events -- from the war in Iraq to the setback in trade talks at Cancun -- have exposed serious differences among Member States.


Some people see the dominant threats to peace and security as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. But to people in many other countries, the threats that really destabilize lives are quite different: civil wars; AIDS; poverty and environmental degradation, oppression and violations of human rights.

Our central challenge is to ensure we have the rules, instruments and institutions to deal with all these threats.  After all, they are closely linked.  A world that is not fighting hunger and disease, that is not promoting education and women’s rights and women’s empowerment, that is not protecting the environment, will not be a world at peace.  And a world awash in violence and conflict will have little chance of achieving these and other development goals.

Success will not be achieved overnight.  Yet with creativity, patience and will, we can succeed in our simultaneous campaign to gain freedom from want and freedom from fear.  Just as Peru has contributed to the United Nations, so will the United Nations continue to be your close partner.

Once again, thank you again for your commitment to the United Nations Charter, and for the recognition you have bestowed on me and my colleagues.

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