22 May 2006

Conflict Prevention, Early Warning Best Guarantees of Peace, Says Secretary-General in Message to La Francophonie Conference

(Translated from French.)

NEW YORK, 12 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Ministerial Conference of la Francophonie on Conflict Prevention and Human Security, in Saint-Boniface, Canada, 12-14 May:

As this important Conference begins, I should like, on my own behalf and on behalf of the United Nations, to tell you how very important I consider your work to be.

The circumstances of international life prevent me from being here today with you.  I regret that very much, but be assured that the subject which brings you together here today is central to the reflections carried out by the United Nations.

Human security and its connection to conflict prevention are among the new paths which we are exploring together to enhance the well-being and stability of the international community.  I, therefore, wish to congratulate the International Organization of la Francophonie and Canada, which is acting as host today, on this fine initiative.

We have all learned that conflict prevention, early warning, constant monitoring and perception of potential dangers are the best guarantees of peace and the best way to avoid exacerbation of crises and mass violations of human rights.

We also know that today civilian populations are the principal victims of the conflicts in international society.  Now more than ever, upholding human rights imposes upon us the responsibility to protect to which the United Nations is, henceforth, committed.

But there are still many concepts to be clarified, procedures to be refined and new mechanisms to be devised.  The International Organization of la Francophonie, under the leadership of its Secretary-General Abdou Diouf, has repeatedly shown its ability to innovate and in several fields -- I am thinking in particular of the promotion of democracy -- it has contributed to decisive progress towards achieving our common goals of international peace and security.

I will accordingly keep myself informed of the results of your work and take them into account as new proof of the constructive cooperation, which has been in place for several years now between the International Organization of la Francophonie and the United Nations, and which is growing ever stronger and more highly developed.

I extend to all my warmest greetings and my best wishes for success.

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