Press Releases

                                                                                                                            9 July 2004

    Lakhdar Brahimi Has Pursued One Agenda – “The Cause of Peace”, Says Secretary-General in Message to Munich Award Ceremony

    NEW YORK, 8 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on the award to Lakhdar Brahimi of the Dag Hammarskjöld Honorary Medal from the German United Nations Association in Munich, 8 July:

    I cannot count the number of times that I have heard my senior staff say, as we discuss potential candidates to lead peace processes in various parts of the world, “what we need is someone like Mr. Brahimi”. The reason is simple: Lakhdar Brahimi possesses a unique combination of talent, skill and experience, and perhaps even more important, a sense of dedication and self-sacrifice, that mark him out as one of the finest mediators and negotiators the United Nations has been privileged to call one of its own.

    My predecessors and I have turned to him to help bring peace to war-torn countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, as well as to modernize the structures and doctrines of the United Nations itself.  Before this, the Arab League turned to him to help bring the civil war in Lebanon to an end.  Most recently, he played the pivotal role in helping Iraqis put in place an interim government -- an assignment he executed with great skill, and which I will always be grateful he accepted.

    In Iraq, as in other places -- whether it was in Lebanon, South Africa, Haiti or Afghanistan -- Lakhdar Brahimi pursued no agenda other than the cause of peace.  He had no goal other than to see the suffering caused by civil strife and war brought to an end.  He would be the first to point out that he has many distinguished colleagues who pursue the same ends every day all over the world in the service of the United Nations, just as those colleagues would be the first to acknowledge the unique contribution he has made, and the sagacity with which he has made it.

    Lakhdar Brahimi has not sought the limelight, and, indeed, after his long and distinguished career, he has more than earned the right to the quiet life.  But he has responded to the call of duty.  In answering that call, he has served in the most dangerous places, carrying out the most delicate and difficult assignments with great integrity and true wisdom.  He embodies the qualities that Dag Hammarskjöld sought in those who would serve the United Nations.  He is one of our leading global citizens, whose wise counsel I rely on.

    I am therefore truly glad that the German United Nations Association has seen fit to award Lakhdar Brahimi the Dag Hammarskjöld honorary medal. You could not have chosen to honour a more worthy recipient.

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