Kofi Annan appeals for cooperation and leadership from USA

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Monday, December 11, 2006

UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan delivered his farewell address today at the Truman Presidential Museum & Library, Independence, Missouri. He reminded his audience of the far sighted leadership provided by President Harry S Truman in championing the United Nations in its early years. Annan went on to offer five lessons, every one of which led him to conclude that "such leadership is no less sorely needed now than it was sixty years ago".

The lessons he had learned while in office were that the security of everyone is linked to that of everyone else and that we are all responsible for each other’s welfare; that security and development ultimately depend on respect for human rights and the rule of law; that governments must be accountable for their actions in the international arena, as well as in the domestic one; and that, only by working together through the United Nations, can security, welfare and development be achieved.

In the course of his speech, Kofi Annan referred to America as being in the vanguard of the global human rights movement but he warned "that lead can only be maintained if America remains true to its principles, including in the struggle against terrorism".

He concluded his address saying "More than ever today Americans, like the rest of humanity, need a functioning global system through which the world’s peoples can face global challenges together. And in order to function, the system still cries out for far-sighted American leadership, in the Truman tradition. I hope and pray that the American leaders of today, and tomorrow, will provide it."

Afterwards, he was asked why he had chosen in his farewell speech to make such a pointed attack on America. He replied, sharply, that "An appeal for cooperation and leadership should never be seen as an attack".