9 December 2005

Secretary-General Stresses Need to Address Economic Stability, Integration in Message to Donors' Conference on Comoros

NEW YORK, 8 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the Donors' Conference on the Comoros in Port Louis today, 8 December, delivered by Tuliameni Kalomoh, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs:

It gives me pleasure to send my greetings to all the leaders and participants in this timely donors' conference for the Comoros.  I thank the African Union, South Africa and Mauritius, as well as the World Bank and European Union, for their respective roles in preparing and convening this meeting.

You have come together to mobilize strong and sustained international support for the important progress taking place in the Comoros.  Over the past year, the people and authorities of the Comoros have taken encouraging steps to address a number of critical issues, including those related to national reconciliation and to institutional reforms.  Of particular note for the country's future political stability is new legislation stipulating that the presidency will rotate among the islands of the Union.  The presidential elections to be held in March and April 2006 have the potential to be a true milestone in the country's transition from instability, provided they are conducted in an open, fair and democratic manner.

Another integral challenge is to vigorously address and resolve outstanding issues that are crucial to the country's economic stability.  These include fiscal policies, the division of revenue and the control of public companies.  One priority must surely be to strengthen the country's infrastructure, which provides the very framework for development.  There is also a need to ensure the country's economic integration with the subregion, and eventually the rest of the continent, so that the Comoros can seize the opportunities offered by globalization.

This is a pivotal moment for the Comoros.  Conflict, poverty and poor governance have taken a terrible toll.  But that is now changing, we hope for good.  The holding of this conference reflects recognition of the country's recent achievements in the political and economic spheres.  And it holds the potential to mobilize key international actors behind the Comoros' efforts to ensure its territorial integrity, consolidate its political reforms and promote sustainable development.

The responsibility for sustaining this momentum lies first and foremost with the people and Government of the Comoros.  But this responsibility is also a collective one, and the international community has an important role to play.  I call on donors to be generous.  And I pledge the full support of the United Nations for the efforts of the Comoros to usher in a more peaceful, prosperous and hopeful era in its history.  In that spirit of solidarity, please accept my best wishes for a successful conference.

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