4 May 2006

Secretary-General Underlines Importance of Understanding among Peoples, Pursuit of Harmony, Promotion of Peace, in Message on Day of Vesak

NEW YORK, 3 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of the Day of Vesak, 11 May 2006:

It gives me pleasure to send you my warmest greetings on the Day of Vesak, when we commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha.

The ideals celebrated on this day are close to those of the United Nations:  understanding among peoples, the pursuit of harmony, the promotion of peace.

This Day of Vesak falls as the United Nations continues its efforts to adapt the United Nations to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, and in particular to implement the commitments made by leaders at the 2005 World Summit last September.  Our success in advancing this agenda of renewal will depend not only on Government representatives and international officials.  It will rest on voters, consumers, civil society groups and concerned individuals of all ages, in rich and poor countries alike, thinking and acting as global citizens.

As we mark this year's Day of Vesak, let us recognize, as Buddhism does, our essential interdependence.  And let us resolve to work together towards the common good, and for the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of all the world's people.  I thank all of you for your commitment to those ideals, and wish you a wonderful celebration for the Day of Vesak.

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