Press Releases

    29 September 2005

    Language Uniting Francophone Community Instrument of Solidarity, Basis for Alliance Seeking Justice, Peace, Development, Says Secretary-General

    (Delayed for translation of text, originally delivered in French.)

    NEW YORK, 17 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a toast by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the francophone dinner in New York, 16 September:

    First of all, I should like to thank you, distinguished Minister, Madame, for your generous hospitality.  My wife, Nane, and I are very pleased to be here this evening.  This dinner is a fine tradition that I am glad you are continuing.

    I am particularly happy this evening that the final document of the Summit, even if it does not fulfil all our hopes, offers a good starting point for joint action to confront some of the most significant challenges of our era.

    It is now that the most difficult work begins.  The decisions which have been taken have to be put into effect, and efforts must continue to seek agreement on the issues which have remained pending, without ever losing sight of the peoples' aspirations to peace, security and prosperity.

    These aspirations, and the lofty values associated with them, are also at the heart of everything that the francophone community represents today.  The language which unites you has become an instrument of solidarity, the basis for a moral and political alliance which seeks to better meet the needs for justice, peace and development.  The traditional divisions have faded and made way for a common vision which does not exclude respect for differences.  The United Nations wholeheartedly supports this ideal of community and sharing.

    As Voltaire said, the genius of a language -- and he was certainly referring to the French language -- is its ability to say in the most concise and harmonious way what other languages express less felicitously.

    I shall perhaps not be harmonious, but I shall be brief.  You have heard enough speeches over the past few days.  In order not to interrupt this delightful evening for too long, I shall even take the liberty of mangling your beautiful language a little.

    Over the past few days, my colleagues and I have put in many extra hours.

    There was no question of relying on improvisation.

    Everything had to be tip-top for the Summit.

    In order to deal with fatigue, each person had their own way.

    I believe that some people even resorted to pick-me-ups -- hopefully they have not become hooked!

    But we could not flunk this occasion.  The Summit had to be a win for everyone.  Like real pros, my colleagues worked until the wee hours of the morning.

    As our TV friends say, and without trying to do a promo, I think it was a hit production.

    Dear friends, I invite you to raise your glasses to the new prospects created by this summit meeting.  To friendship among the peoples and to the United Nations, which symbolizes this ideal and this year is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary.

    I wish you all a very good evening, and ... enjoy your dinner!

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