Annan the Man!

Kofi Annan made a masterful speech at the opening ceremony of the 57th session of the UN General Assembly, setting forth the UNO’s priorities in crisis management and telling both Presidents, Bush and Hussein, that there are international norms to follow and that issues cannot be taken outside the competent legal fora.

Highlighting the four main crises to be resolved, he listen the Iraq crisis, Palestine/Israel, Afghanistan and the India/Pakistan conflict in that order of priority. Regarding the first, he told President Bush that unilateral action should not be taken against Iraq “for the good of your own people and for the world order”. He added that “The United States must individually defend themselves…but only a concerted vigilance and cooperation between all the States…offers a real hope of denying opportunities to terrorists”.

As for Iraq, he made it clear that if Baghdad continues to defy UN resolutions to allow in the UNMOVIC weapons inspection team, then the Security Council will have no other option that to take up its responsibilities. He did not say “military intervention” in as many words, but this was understood.

As for the Middle East, Kofi Annan reiterated the UNO solution which was drawn up long ago: a process of land for peace, the end of terror and occupation, the drawing up of stable and recognised frontiers behind which both states can co-exist in peace.

He reminded those present of the need for the nations which pledged financial support for Afghanistan at the donor conference to not forget their promises, because the authority in Kabul needs to be established across the country. The assassination attempt on Hamid Karzai last week was a telling example of the3 country’s needs, said the Secretary-General.

Kofi Annan praised the lessening tension between India and Pakistan but also warned that if tensions rise again, the international community will have to act.

This was a Kofi Annan assuming his responsibilities as Secretary-General of the United Nations. It was also Kofi Annan spelling out what the United Nations Organization is, and should be: the highest forum of political discussion in the world, outside which no nation has the right to act unilaterally.


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