Press Releases

    23 November 2004

    Secretary-General Pledges United Nations Support in Quest for Peace, Stability, Democracy, Development in Great Lakes Region

    NEW YORK, 22 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks at the closing of the International Conference on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region, held in Dar-es-Salaam on 20 November 2004:

    The Dar-es-Salaam Declaration of Principles holds great promise.

    It is the product of an admirable spirit of dialogue and compromise.

    It reflects your common understanding of what it will take to achieve peace, stability, democracy and development throughout the region.

    It strengthens existing national, bilateral, trilateral and regional peace efforts.

    It embodies a commitment to work together as good neighbours in addressing common vulnerabilities and seizing common opportunities.

    It identifies priorities for the crucial job ahead.

    And it provides for a follow-up mechanism to get the job done.

    After all this hard work, this Declaration may feel today like an end.  But it is not an end.  It is not even the beginning of an end.  It is the beginning of the beginning.  Indeed, it has taken 10 years for this Conference to come together, and for the countries of the region to sit around the same table, identify their problems and set priorities in shaping their common destiny.

    But the job is far from over, as you seek to turn the Declaration’s principles into detailed protocols and programmes of action.  It is in the months to come, as you strive towards collecting the dividends of peace through a comprehensive security, stability and development pact, that your commitment will meet its greatest test.

    The international community is determined to continue helping you, as requested in the Declaration.  But that support will naturally depend on the progress that you yourselves achieve in sustaining momentum and building confidence.  I urge you to continue showing the leadership and flexibility that have brought you this far, and that have led you to put your signatures, and authority, to this document you will be signing soon.

    No one has got everything they wanted from this process.  But everyone has got what they need:  a real chance for peace, stability, democracy and development in a vast region -- a region that is home to millions upon millions of people who deserve a better future.  I can assure you that in this endeavour, the UN will be by your side. 

    Finally, let me thank once again President Mkapa, the Government and people of Tanzania, for their brilliant organization of this conference.  It has been a masterful organization with a balance between the heat on the shores of the Indian Ocean and the air conditioned conference rooms.

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