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Wednesday, July 19, 2000, updated at 22:26(GMT+8)

Much Is Expected of the Millenium Summit

Following is the text of the interview between the People's Daily Delegation and the UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan

A look to the new century shows that the future development trend of the United Nations will affect the world. Where will the United Nations be led to by the forthcoming Millenium Summit Meeting? What role China plays in the United Nations? And how does Secretary-general Kofi Annan lead this world organization?

The People's Daily Delegation, headed by Editor-in-Chief Xu Zhongtian now visiting New York, recently had an interview with Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, discussing with him the above-mentioned questions.

REPORTER: Since you served as secretary-general of the United Nations in 1997, some progress has been made in the reform of the United Nations, but it also faces many difficulties, in your opinion, what are the difficulties in the reform?

ANNAN: As we carry out reform of the United Nations, there do exist some difficulties, but generally speaking, I'm quite satisfied with the efforts made in the reform conducted within the limit of my personal function and authority, such as streamlining the structure of the United Nations and enhancing the UN work efficiency. Here I just want to give one example, now cabinet-level managerial personnel conference is held every week, attended by directors of departments, funds and development program, in addition to responsible members with UN organizations from Geneva, Rome, Vienna and Nairobi. They are gathered together by the method of video conference. I believe this practice will enable our organization to be with greater cohesion and identity.

However, the progress achieved in the field of common view reached by member countries is not satisfactory. The reform of the Security Council is also in a state of stagnation. However, it is highly important for this reform to make the United Nations, a decision-making organization, become more representative and be better able to reflect the reality of the 21st century and not the history of 1945. I hope that progress can be made in the discussion on this issue at the UN Millenium Summit.

REPORTER: Since the end of the Cold War, the world has not been in peace, there have been incessant regional conflicts, sometimes even sharp conflicts. On this issue, developed countries have adopted different attitudes and handling methods and have caused serious consequences, what's your view concerning this?

ANNAN: Although the Cold War has ended, small-scale regional conflicts have emerged unceasingly, which included both conflicts between countries and fighting with weapons within a country, this is a question requiring great concern. What is particularly worrying is that in certain regions, the smuggling of various types of weapons has led to the deluge of weapons in some countries, while the excessive development and transaction of their natural resources have fueled the smuggle of weapons. As a result, these countries have suffered greatly from violence and turbulence. In this regard, those traditional peace-keeping concepts of the United Nations, which only require maintenance of the peace accords to be observed by the parties concerned have to be revised. I attempt to stress that different environments require different handling methods. For example, the parties concerned cannot observe the peace accord or chose to wage war. Under such circumstance, the United Nations and the international community must be prepared to react strongly to the move that poses threat to peace, so as to stop the violator of the accord, and prevent the innocent from the suffering of terror and harm. I've ordered the conduction of high-level studies on future peace-keeping actions of the United Nations.

REPORTER: You once regarded your assumption of the post of UN secretary-general as wire-walking, trying your best to achieve some sort of balance. But some problems put you in an awkward predicament, for instance, the incident of NATO, which bypassed the United Nations, launched bombing of Yugoslavia. How could you find balance on this issue of principle?

ANNAN: At the opening ceremony of the UN General Assembly session in September last year, I called upon various member countries to get united to pursue more effective policies and stop evil conduct of organized, massive massacre and damaging human rights. Although I emphasized "intervention", including various widespread continuous reactions, and from diplomatic measures to military actions, but military action is prone to spark disputes.

I once said that the international community needed to avoid two kinds of hidden dangers: one was failure to forcefully deal with crisis-action, for example, the incident occurred in Rwanda in 1994. Second, action taken by a regional organization without the authorization of the United Nations, for instance, the military action carried out by NATO against Yugoslavia in March 1999.Just as what I said at the time of the happening of this incident, sometimes the use of armed forces to seek peace is legal, but the Security Council bears the major responsibility for the defense of international peace and security, it should be involved in any decision on the recourse to force.

I urgently demand that when conflict occurred over the two important principles of safeguarding human rights and respecting sovereignty, the various member countries should face up to the actual predicament. I believe we would finally discover that it was entirely possible to simultaneously uphold these two principles.

REPORTER: The UN Millenium Summit is imminent, you've submitted a report to the General Assembly, putting forward a directional topic for discussion at the meeting, however, public opinion is worried that the meeting may come to a "loud thunder, but small raindrops" end, do you have such misgivings?

ANNAN: I don't hope that the millenium summit to become a "loud thunder, but small raindrops" conference. , of course, I'm not a weather forecaster, but I believe the meeting will bring about rain of wisdom which will enable the people to get the moisture of rain and dew and share rich fruits.

I've all along been helping various member countries to make preparations for the millenium summit meeting, for this I've handed in a report, which contains wide-ranging topics: ranging from the use of information technology to resisting the spread of HIV/Aids as well as how to face up to the serious environmental problem in the new century. In my eye, the crux of the matter lies in finding a global management system fitting in with the global new economic situation. Under this system, management cannot be exercised through the centralization of authority, but rather it can be realized through an informal policy network that covers all member countries. These members include sovereign states, trans-governmental organizations, local authorities, private companies as well as funds, non-governmental organizations, trade unions and academic organizations. In short, I hope various member countries can make common efforts to find a common stand on solving problems, to deal with Aids, economic globalization, African humanitarian crisis as well as improving the system of the United Nations. I particularly hope that member countries will make necessary efforts, make decision and promise of substantive significance. People of the world have much expectation from the summit meeting, they will not be contented with only several high-sounding words.

REPORTER: China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has all along been playing an important role in the United Nations. However, China is a developing country, we know that some countries place a high value of expectation on China. What's your evaluation of China's role in the United Nations?

ANNAN: We are grateful to China for its participation in the work of the United Nations and for the responsible part played by China as a permanent member of the Security Council. Moreover, China is currently the only developing country undertaking such a heavy responsibility. I expect that in the future China will more fully participate in international affairs. I believe that many countries will greatly benefit from China's experience in promoting economic and social development. With a population accounting for one-fifth of the world total, China assumes an important responsibility in world affairs. China performs its responsibility and obligation not only on behalf of its own people, in a certain sense, it must also represent the interests of all developing nations.

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Following is the text of the interview between the People's Daily Delegation and the UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan

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