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UN Must Be Centre Of Multilateral Action - Annan

UN Must Be Centre Of Multilateral Action, Annan Says

No country can protect itself from threats - ranging from the AIDS pandemic to global warming to the spread of radical ideologies - by turning itself into an impregnable military fortress, according to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who reminded nations of the need in today's world to work together in dealing with such issues.

"For good or ill, we live in an age of interdependence, and we must manage it collectively," Mr. Annan said in a message delivered yesterday in Rome by Olara Otunnu, his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, to mark the second Interdependence Day.

Although the United Nations is a far from perfect organization, it is the locus of international legitimacy and must the vital centre of multilateral action, he stressed, noting also his appointment of a blue-ribbon panel to generate a shared analysis of current threats - including global terrorism - and a set of recommendations on how to face them.

"I will be calling on the nations of the world to respond to those recommendations with vision and a sense of responsibility and solidarity," he said.

The event in Rome was to bring together the Italian Speaker of the House, Pier Ferdinando Casini, former Governor Howard Dean, former President of Slovenia Milan Kucan, Polish Solidarity leader Adam Michnik, former Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando, former French Prime Minister and European Parliamentarian Michel Rocard and many others.

Among the civic leaders that were also invited were former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev and European Commission President Romano Prodi.

The first Interdependence Day was marked last year in Philadelphia, site of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.

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