Press Releases

    12 February 2004

    In Remarks to Special Committee, Secretary-General Welcomes Consultations with Administering Powers to Further Decolonization Process

    NEW YORK, 11 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Special Committee of 24 at the opening of the 2004 session today:

    I am very pleased to join you as you begin your deliberations for 2004.

    The past year has been an interesting and active one for the Special Committee.  However, there is still a lot to be done to fulfil the requirements of the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolutions 1514 and 1541, which contain the Declaration on Decolonization and the principles that should guide the decolonization process.

    Sixteen non-self-governing territories remain on the Committee’s list.  During this past year, the Special Committee consulted with some of the administering Powers on a series of actions that would trigger a process of decolonization in these territories within this decade.  I welcome this development, and I hope it continues in full partnership with the administering Powers, as well as with the active participation of the peoples of the territories.  The aim must be to promote their political, economic and social development and determine the final status of each territory within the framework of the three options envisaged in resolution 1541: free association, integration with another State, or independence.

    I am pleased to note that there has been further progress in the Programme of Work for Tokelau.  The people of the Territory continue to work closely with the administering Power to reach agreements that will guide their future relationship, and will determine the final status of Tokelau to the satisfaction of all concerned.

    I am also glad that, during 2003, the annual decolonization seminar was, for the first time, held in one of the non-self-governing territories -- the Caribbean island of Anguilla. I compliment the Government of Anguilla, the administering Power -- the United Kingdom -- and the former Chairman of the Special Committee, Earl Stephen Huntley, on breaking this new ground. 

    In the twenty-first century, colonialism is an anachronism.  I therefore hope that, in the year ahead, all administering Powers will work with the Special Committee, and with the people in the territories under their administration, to find ways to further the decolonization process.  After all, decolonization is a United Nations success story, but it is a story that is not yet finished.  I stand ready to provide any support that I can to advance the work of the Committee, and I wish you every success in the year ahead.

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