Kofi Annan

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Kofi Annan : biography

8 April 1938 – living

Relations between the United States and the United Nations

Kofi Annan supported his deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, who openly criticized the United States in a speech on 6 June 2006: "[T]he prevailing practice of seeking to use the UN almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics is simply not sustainable. You will lose the UN one way or another. […] [That] the US is constructively engaged with the UN […] is not well known or understood, in part because much of the public discourse that reaches the US heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News." Malloch later said his talk was a "sincere and constructive critique of U.S. policy toward the U.N. by a friend and admirer."

The talk was unusual because it violated unofficial policy of not having top officials publicly criticize member nations. The interim U.S. ambassador John R. Bolton, appointed by President George W. Bush, was reported to have told Annan on the phone: "I’ve known you since 1989 and I’m telling you this is the worst mistake by a senior UN official that I have seen in that entire time." Observers from other nations supported Malloch’s view that conservative politicians in the US prevented many citizens from understanding the benefits of US involvement in the UN. – CNN NEWSROOM Transcripts (Aired 11 December 2006 – 09:00ET)

UN Resolution 61/225: World Diabetes Day

Kofi Annan witnessed the United Nations General Assembly’s passage of UN Resolution 61/225, to establish World Diabetes Day. The Resolution was the second UN General Assembly Resolution on a health-related issue (the other being HIV/AIDS). Resolution 61/225 is the only Health-related UN Resolution to pass by consensus. Sponsored by the Republic of South Africa and Bangladesh, the Resolution was passed on 20 December 2006.

Farewell addresses

On 19 September 2006, Annan gave a farewell address to world leaders gathered at the UN headquarters in New York, in anticipation of his retirement on 31 December. In the speech he outlined three major problems of "an unjust world economy, world disorder, and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law", which he believes "have not resolved, but sharpened" during his time as Secretary-General. He also pointed to violence in Africa, and the Arab-Israeli conflict as two major issues warranting attention.

On 11 December 2006, in his final speech as Secretary-General, delivered at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, Annan recalled Truman’s leadership in the founding of the United Nations. He called for the United States to return to President Truman’s multilateralist foreign policies, and to follow Truman’s credo that "the responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world". He also said that the United States must maintain its commitment to human rights, "including in the struggle against terrorism."