Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation;
Secretary General of the UN;
The Chairperson of the Commission of the AU;
Our distinguished Observers and Guests;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this 7 th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council. I would like to express, on your behalf, our sincere appreciation to the Government and people of the Great Socialist Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the warm reception and hospitality extended to all of us since our arrival in this beautiful city of Tripoli/Sirte.
This is a particularly important session coming shortly before the Millennium high level mid-term session of the UNGA. This year is being spoken of as Africa's year whether genuinely meant or not, we have to ourselves as Africans take decisions and measures to show that we believe it is true for the international community to pay its debts to Africa in order to enable the Continent to take off and become fully integrated into the global community. Besides, we are being confronted with proposals for the reform of the UN.
This is a duty which has engaged us since the Assembly in Abuja directed us as the Executive Council of the Union to adopt a common African position, make it known to the rest of the World and solicit their support for the attainment of the African aspiration. We dutifully started the work, our Committee received the E24/wini consensus and we adopted it in March 2005 and set up a follow up mechanism. Members of the mechanism have since been carrying the message of the E24/wini consensus all over the chancelleries of the World most of which have expressed admiration for Africa's leadership.
Thus this session will enable us not only to consolidate our initiatives but also to be as the World now expects, to be the bridge between an international community deeply divided on the institutional reform of the UN. We cannot fail ourselves, we cannot fail our brother Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN who demonstrated great courage to take the initiative to accomplish a general demand for making the UN more relevant to the demands of the 21 st century and especially to Africa which was not present when the UN was created in 1945. Thus we have a lot to gain if UN reform proposals were successfully completed this year. By the same yard stick, Africa has the greatest to lose if these proposals were aborted. To be a bridge we need to work with other groups beyond talking to but proceed to negotiate with others for achieving African interests.
It is my hope therefore that the Council as usual will carry out its assignments under very cordial atmosphere which has always characterized our deliberations and through which we have always arrived at satisfactory conclusions in the true tradition of African brotherhood. It is again this background that I urge that we work at this session with renewed determination for the promotion of the wider interests of the Union and indeed of Africa.
Before I end this remark, may I seize the opportunity to commend the distinguished Ambassadors/Permanent Representatives for the excellent work they have done both in Addis Ababa and since their arrival here in Tripoli to prepare the grounds in order to facilitate our work. I also pay glowing tributes to the Chairperson of the Commission under whose leadership the Commissioners and the entire staff of the Commission have continued to do their best in the service of our dear continent.
I thank you.