the United Nations Photo Unit website
with a selection of
photos of the official visits of Secretary-General.
On January the
21st 2004, Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan commenced his nine-day travel
trough Western Europe. His first stop was Baden Baden, Germany were he
was given the German Media Prize in recognition of the most outstanding
person of the year. The following day the Secretary General continued
his travels to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum.
There he spoke of the importance of the Global Compact and corporate responsibility
in areas such as human rights, labour and the environment.
The SG left for Stockholm on the afternoon of the 25th of January. He
attended and addressed the Stockholm Forum on Preventing Genocide. He
recommended establishing a Committee and a Special Rapporteur on the prevention
of genocide. He then flew to Paris on Monday 26 January. In Paris he met
with President Jacques Chirac, Edouard Balladur, the Chairman of the Foreign
Affairs Committee of the National Assembly. He issued a statement saying
that the United Nations could play a constructive role in Iraq. The Secretary
General later attended a meeting hosted by the French president of business
executives on the Global Compact.
He travelled to Brussels from Paris on the morning of Wednesday, 28 January,
where he met with various European Union senior officials such as European
Commission President Romano Prodi, Mr Brian Cowen, Foreign Minister of
Ireland, and European Parliament President Mr Pat Cox. He was presented,
by Mr Cox, the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. On Friday
the 29th January the Secretary General inaugurated the European Regional
United Nations Information Office (RUNIC) together with Belgian Prime
Minister Guy Verhoftadt. He thanked the Belgian Government for having
provided the premises for the new RUNIC free of charge.
The Secretary General continued to the residence of the Prime Minister,
where he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of
Gent.The Secretary General and his party flew to Geneva later that afternoon
where he met Presidents Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Ricardo Lagos
Escobar of Chile and Jacques Chirac of France to discuss a fresh initiative
to combat global hunger and poverty.
ACTIVITIES IN BADEN BADEN, 21 JANUARY;
RECEIVES GERMAN MEDIA PRIZE
the 21st January, 2004 the Secretary-General met with German Foreign Minister
Joschka Fischer in Baden Baden. Their talks mainly touched on problem
areas like Iraq, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Afghanistan.
He was later that evening given the German Media Prize by Karlheinz Koegel,
who created the prize in 1992 to recognize the most outstanding person
of the year, as selected by a jury composed of Germany’s leading
In his acceptance speech, the Secretary-General said that the United Nations
will remember 2003 as one of the most difficult and painful years in its
history. For the year ahead, he pointed to the need to increase attention
to the need to fight AIDS, which he called the “deadliest epidemic
in human history”, and to refocus the world’s attention on
development. At the same time, he said, we must show that the United Nations
is capable of fulfilling its purpose of ensuring collective security,
so that States do not feel obliged or entitled to take the law into its
own hands. The Secretary-General added another challenge that needs attention
this year: the rebuilding of trust among peoples of different faiths and
Press Release SG/SM/9124.)
Afterwards, the Secretary-General attended a dinner hosted by Mr. Koegel.
ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL
IN DAVOS, 22-25 JANUARY
The Secretary-General arrived in Davos on 22 January, for three days,
to attend the World Economic Forum. Shortly after his arrival, he met
with other Senior United Nations figures attending the forum. He then
finished the day with two bilateral meetings with the President-elect
of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, and with the new Secretary-General of
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
On 23 January, the Secretary-General gave the keynote address at the World
Economic Forum . He told the Forum that, “in just a few short years,
the prevailing atmosphere has shifted from a belief in the near-inevitability
of globalization to a deep uncertainty about the very survival of our
global order”. He said that it is in the interest of business for
government to meet the Millennium Development Goals, and noting that the
war in Iraq had shifted attention from those goals, he warned, “It
is time to rebalance the international agenda”. The Secretary-General
drew attention to the accomplishments of his Global Compact in pushing
for corporate responsibility over the past five years, but said more must
be accomplished, and added he would convene a Global Compact Summit at
United Nations Headquarters in June to reassess the Compact’s work.(See
Press Release SG/SM/9125.)
In the margins of the forum, the Secretary-General had a full two day
program of bilateral meetings with heads of State and United Nations officials.
Among these was a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom,
were they discussed about Israel’s separation barrier, which Mr.
Annan sees as an obstacle to the “Road Map” for peace. The
Secretary General also met Mr. Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the
Arab League. They discussed Coalition plans for the transfer of sovereignty
to Iraqis and the possible United Nations role in that process
On 25 January, before leaving Davos, the Secretary-General had a breakfast
meeting with the chief executive officers of some of the world’s
largest corporations to discuss the Global Compact. It was in Davos, five
years ago, he told them, that he first proposed the Global Compact, calling
on business leaders to embrace within their sphere of influence universal
principles in the areas of human rights, labour, and the environment.
He praised the more than 1,200 companies from over 70 countries that are
now participating in the Global Compact, as well as dozens of global labour
and civil society organizations. He also challenged them to think of ways
to make the Compact more effective.(See
Press Release SG/SM/9135.)
He then flew to Stockholm, Sweden.
OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN STOCKHOLM, 25-26 JANUARY
The Secretary-General arrived in Stockholm from Davos in the afternoon
of 25 January, to attend the Stockholm Forum on Preventing Genocide.
In the late afternoon on the 25th, he met with the Prime Minister of Sweden,
Goran Persson. At a press encounter afterwards, the Prime Minister said
that they had discussed the situation in Europe, and particularly Cyprus,
in light of the Secretary-General’s meeting the previous day with
the Turkish Prime Minister; they also touched on United Nations reform
and the United Nations role in Iraq.On 26 January, the Secretary-General
addressed the Stockholm Forum on Preventing Genocide as one of the keynote
speakers. He said that the prevention of genocide may be considered one
of the original purposes of the United Nations. At the time of its founding,
the words “never again” were on everyone’s lips.
In response to this failure, efforts have been made to change the culture
of the United Nations, from one of reaction to one of prevention. But
he offered suggestions of new ideas that should be explored.
First, he proposed that the parties to the Genocide Convention set up
a committee to review reports and recommend action, as is currently done
for other international treaties.
Second, he recommended establishing a Special Rapporteur on the prevention
of genocide, who would report directly to the Security Council, to make
clear the link between massive violations of human rights and threats
to international peace and security.(See Press Release SG/SM/9126.)
The Secretary-General then attended a luncheon hosted by His Majesty King
Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in honour of the heads of State attending the
In the afternoon, he had a private meeting with the former United Nations
chief weapons inspector for Iraq, Hans Blix.
OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN FRANCE, 26 - 28 JANUARY
Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Paris from Stockholm late on Monday,
On Tuesday morning, he issued a statement saying he had concluded that
the United Nations could play a constructive role in Iraq. Once satisfied
that the Coalition Provisional Authority would provide adequate security
arrangements, the statement said, he would send a mission to ascertain
the views of a broad spectrum of Iraqi society in the search for alternatives
that might be developed to move forward to the formation of a provisional
government.(See Press Release SG/SM/9129) His first appointment of the
day was with Edouard Balladur, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee
of the National Assembly. Mr. Balladur presented a copy of a report he
had produced on the subject of globalization.
Iraq and African issues dominated the working lunch he had with President
Jacques Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. At a press
encounter afterwards, the President said he fully supported the Secretary-General’s
plan to send a fact-finding mission to Iraq.
After lunch the Secretary-General met with Jacques Dermagne, the President
of the Economic and Social Council of France. They discussed the Council’s
work in the fight against poverty.
He later attended a meeting hosted by President Chirac of business executives
on the Global Compact. The Secretary-General told the group that he warmly
welcomed the creation of a French network in support of the Compact, which
will join more than 50
other such networks in the world. He said we must recognize that the fight
against corruption is essential to give meaning to the principles we wish
to uphold.(See Press Release SG/SM/9131.)
OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN BELGIUM, 28-30 JANUARY
Kofi Annan travelled to Brussels from Paris in the morning of Wednesday,
He held meetings with European Commission President Romano Prodi, Mr.
Brian Cowen, Foreign Minister of Ireland, which currently holds the EU
presidency as well as with several senior European Union officials. They
discussed the EU’s relations with the United Nations, UN reform,
the Doha round of trade negations, the fight against AIDS and a number
of European issues.
On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan went to the
European Parliament where they were greeted by President Pat Cox as well
as by school children. The Secretary-General then had an exchange with
members of the Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, taking
a number of questions from them on United Nations/European Union relations,
Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus, United Nations reform and the fight against
Annan then proceeded to the Parliament chamber, where President Cox presented
the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the United Nations,
in memory of those United Nations staff members who had lost their lives
in the service of peace. The Secretary-General accepted the prize, on
their behalf, saying he was deeply touched that among those honoured was
his friend and colleague, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and other United Nations
staff killed in the line of duty. He told the Parliament that the international
community needs to manage the movement of people across borders far better
than we do, and encouraged European States to open greater avenues for
legal migration.(See Press Release SG/SM/9134.)
After lunch he began an official visit to Belgium with an audience with
His Majesty King Albert II.
He then met with Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel for talks that
focused largely on Central Africa. They discussed Belgium’s bilateral
assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the training of
the army. The Secretary-General continued his official visit to Belgium
on Friday with a meeting with Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and a dozen
senior members of his Government, including Foreign Minister Louis Michel.
Together with the Belgian Prime Minister he visited and inaugurated the
European Regional UN Information Centre (RUNIC) in Brussels, which replaces
nine national information centers that were closed down at the end of
2003. The Secretary General also thanked the Belgian Government for having
so generously provided the premises for the new RUNIC free of charge.
(See Press Release SG/SM/9136.)
The Secretary-General then went to the residence of the Prime Minister,
where he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of
Ghent. The degree had originally been offered in March 2003, but the crisis
in Iraq prevented the Secretary-General from traveling to Belgium at that
time. (See Press Release SG/SM/9137.)
After lunch, the Secretary-General and his party flew to Geneva, where
he was to meet with Presidents Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Ricardo
Lagos Escobar of Chile and Jacques Chirac of France to discuss a fresh
initiative to combat global hunger and poverty.