Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1996

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Author: William J. Clinton  | Date: December 13, 1996

Statement on the United Nations Security Council Approval of Kofi Annan as Secretary-General,
December 13, 1996

I’m delighted by today’s vote in the United Nations Security Council, selecting Kofi Annan of Ghana to be the new U.N. Secretary-General. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will concur with the Security Council early next week.

Through his decades of work at the United Nations and in the international arena, Kofi Annan has established excellent working relations with many countries, including the United States. Over the last 4 years as U.N. Undersecretary for Peacekeeping, and throughout his impressive career, he has proven himself an able and energetic manager—professional, impartial, well-versed in the issues at hand, and a true proponent of reform. We are confident he will take concrete steps to inspire the world to support the U.N., inspire the U.N. to live up to its ideals, and transform those ideals into action.

Since its founding more than half a century ago, the United Nations has been a vehicle for peace and progress that has served the interests of America and the world. Since taking office, I have worked hard with Congress to sustain America’s support for the United Nations.

Precisely because we believe in the United Nations, my administration has also led the fight for far-reaching U.N. reform. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, the U.N. must keep pace with the times—achieving its work with fewer people and resources, reducing waste and rationalizing priorities, and producing better results at lower costs. The world community needs a United Nations that spends less on overhead and outdated agencies and more on services that directly benefit people’s daily lives.

I believe the United Nations must have a leader who is committed to these goals. That is why I decided we needed a new Secretary-General. I knew this would be a controversial decision, but it was the right thing to do.

The outgoing U.N. Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, is an honorable man who has led a great career—from the breakthrough for Middle East peace at Camp David to his leadership of the United Nations as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Now, we must prepare the United Nations for the demands of the next 50 years. I am confident Kofi Annan will rise to this task with conviction.

I am committed to work closely with the Congress to meet America’s obligations to the United Nations and to make good on our arrears. And I am sure that my nominee for our U.N. Ambassador, Bill Richardson, will work effectively with the new Secretary-General to renew and revitalize this historic organization to take on the challenges of the future.

Note: This item was not received in time for publication in the appropriate issue.

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Chicago: William J. Clinton, "Statement on the United Nations Security Council Approval of Kofi Annan as Secretary-General, December 13, 1996," Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1996 in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, December 20, 1996 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996), 32:2543 Original Sources, accessed July 2, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YG92BEXR3NPZB4V.

MLA: Clinton, William J. "Statement on the United Nations Security Council Approval of Kofi Annan as Secretary-General, December 13, 1996." Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1996, in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, December 20, 1996 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996), 32:2543, Original Sources. 2 Jul. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YG92BEXR3NPZB4V.

Harvard: Clinton, WJ, 'Statement on the United Nations Security Council Approval of Kofi Annan as Secretary-General, December 13, 1996' in Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1996. cited in , United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, December 20, 1996 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996), 32:2543. Original Sources, retrieved 2 July 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YG92BEXR3NPZB4V.