Press Releases

         26 April 2005

    Activities of Secretary-General in Indonesia, 19 - 25 April

    NEW YORK, 25 April (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who had left New York on Tuesday evening, 19 April, accompanied by his wife Nane, arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the morning of Thursday, April 21, following stopovers in Frankfurt, Germany, and Singapore.

    On Thursday afternoon -- the eve of the opening of the two-day Asian-African Summit in Jakarta -- the Secretary-General began his programme in the Indonesian capital with a briefing on United Nations reform to Heads of State and delegations. The meeting was closed to the press, but his statement was made public.

    That briefing session, which took place at the summit site, and titled “In Larger Freedom: Strengthening the United Nations in the 21st Century”, lasted more than two and a half hours with over a dozen delegates taking the floor.

    Saying that the world is not paying enough attention to the challenges of development, the Secretary-General outlined key features of the proposals contained in the report he presented to the General Assembly last month. He emphasized that a functioning, effective United Nations is important for everyone -- but perhaps it is most important for the developing world.

    He again stressed the importance for concrete commitments to meet the target for official development assistance amounting to 0.7 per cent of gross national income by 2015.

    While recognizing that “just about everyone agrees that the United Nations needs reform”, he said, “each country tends to approach the issue through the prism of their own most acute concerns” and urged constructive negotiations over the coming months so “we can have a package of reforms ready for world leaders to endorse in September.” (See press release SG/SM/9833.)

    General Assembly President Jean Ping joined the Secretary-General on the podium and briefed on how the report was being discussed by Member States at United Nations Headquarters.

    Three of his senior advisors on reform, Special Envoy Ali Alatas, former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Jeffrey Sachs and Stephen Stedman, who also joined the Secretary-General for the panel discussion, held a press briefing afterwards.

    On Thursday evening the Secretary-General held a meeting with Natwar Singh, External Affairs Minister of India.

    Addressing the opening of the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta on Friday morning, the Secretary-General told the leaders gathered there representing three quarters of the world's population, “For the sake of your peoples', this is the time to be creative and to be bold.”

    He appealed to each of the leaders to come to New York in September and asked them to instruct their representatives in New York to work energetically in the coming months to agree on language and decisions that would pave the way for a historic reform and renewal of the United Nations.

    The Secretary-General also recalled his personal feelings about the first Asia-Africa conference 50 years ago that took place in Bandung, Indonesia, that led to the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement.

    “I am filled with pride, and even a little nostalgia, on this special occasion. I was a teenager when the leaders of our own continent, some of them defying their colonial rulers, came here to Indonesia, and joined hands with fellow leaders in Asia to adopt the Bandung Declaration”, he said.

    Turning to today, the Secretary-General said, “The time has come for action -- for concrete, measurable steps, leading to a quantum leap in resources for development.”

    He continued, “If I were to suggest that we take efforts to make our world fairer, freer and safer for all its inhabitants, the institutions of the United Nations should reflect the world of 2005, and not 1945 -- particularly in the Security Council.” (See press release SG/SM/9834.)

    The Secretary-General was the third speaker to address the historic gathering, following statements by the Summit co-hosts, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and South African President Thabo Mbeki.

    On the sidelines of the summit, the Secretary-General held 10 back-to-back bilateral meetings on Friday, with a short lunch break.

    In order, he met with King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, and Indonesian President Yudhoyono, followed by Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan of the Republic of Korea, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan, and President Tran Duc Luong of Vietnam and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan.

    In the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Annan attended a dinner hosted by the Indonesian President at the Istana Negara, or State Palace.

    On Saturday, the Secretary-General had another 13 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit.

    They were with President Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, President Natsagiyn Bagabandi of Mongolia, Prime Minister Luísa Dias Diogo of Mozambique, Senior General Than Shwe of Myanmar, President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir of Sudan, President John Kufuor of Ghana, Foreign Minister Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail of Somalia, Syrian Vice-President Mohamed Zouheir Masharqa, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia. The Secretary-General also had a second meeting with President Obasanjo of Nigeria.

    Sandwiched between the morning and afternoon schedule of bilateral meetings was a press conference at the Convention media centre for the journalists gathered from around the world for the Summit. At the press conference, the Secretary-General outlined the reform proposals that were the focus of his discussions and briefings with visiting leaders and his official statement during the Summit, and took questions on a wide range of subjects. They ranged from Sino-Japanese relations, Security Council and United Nations reforms, Myanmar, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and an upcoming visit to Moscow.

    On Saturday evening, following the closing ceremony of the Summit, the Secretary-General held his last bilateral session in Jakarta -- a meeting with President Hu Jintao of China.

    Most of Sunday was devoted to participating in the Golden Jubilee commemoration of the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung. The Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan flew to Bandung, where they took part in a historic walk to the original Bandung conference site, and attended the signing ceremony of the Declaration of the new Asian-African Strategic Partnership. The Secretary-General also took part in a tree planting ceremony alongside the African and Asian leaders before returning to Jakarta on Sunday afternoon.

    On Monday morning, the Secretary-General met with all United Nations staff in Jakarta before departing for New Delhi, India.

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