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 Home > News & Policies > September 2003

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 23, 2003

Remarks by President Bush, Secretary General Annan
Remarks by President Bush and Secretary General Kofi Annan in An Exchange of Toasts at Luncheon
United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York

1:45 P.M. EDT

SECRETARY GENERAL ANNAN: Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, and dear friends: I'm delighted to welcome you to this special -- this General Assembly session. Let me express my warmest thanks to all the heads of state and government who have replied to my call and made the journey to New York to make a personal contribution to this year's general debate.

When I look around the room I see many different faces, some of which I have known for many years and others are new to me. Indeed, some of you are long-timers who have been in office for quite a few years, while others have just been elected and may be coming here for the first time. I see older faces and younger ones; different generations of leaders from different parts of the world. Some of you have come from rich, developed nations; others from poor, developing countries. There are also many different personalities and styles among you. Some are known to be outspoken; others prefer the quiet approach. And here we are, sharing the same meal, under the same roof, and in the same organization that is our common house.

Those who sit at your table may be old friends, or you may be meeting them for the first time. They may have other views than yours on world affairs. But despite our differences, one thing I know that we all share, and we all want, is a better world, and a better world for all our peoples. So I hope, in that spirit of conviviality of this lunch, that this conviviality will continue beyond the doors of this room.

Excellencies and friends, let us raise our glasses to that, to friendship between peoples and nations, and to a better world for all.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Secretary General, distinguished members of the United Nations community, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen: America is honored that you all are here. Since the founding of the U.N. more than 50 years ago, my country has been proud to host this organization. I'm pleased to join you in opening the 58th session of the U.N. General Assembly. Mr. Secretary General, I am grateful for your leadership and I'm proud to call you friend.

The United Nations has suffered great loss in the cause of peace. The terrorist attack against the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad took the lives of 22 servants of peace, including Sergio de Mello, a man who dedicated his life to promoting human rights throughout the world. The people of my country mourn with you. We share your resolve to continue this important work. We gather in this city, at this assembly, to meet urgent challenges of our time. We will work together to promote peace and human dignity.

Mr. Secretary General, with admiration for you and with confidence in the future of this organization, I offer a toast to your leadership and to the United Nations.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

END 1:50 P.M. EDT