UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed on Tuesday the importance of close cooperation between regional organizations and the UN in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the world.
The outcome of the UN summit, expected to be the largest gathering of international leaders at the UN headquarters, is vital, but much work will be needed later to implement the agreements and find common ground, Annan said when he met leaders gathered at the ASEAN-UN Summit on the sidelines of the UN summit.
Annan noted that although the tsunami had an impact on broader development goals, many of the ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries have been enjoying impressive economic growth, and therefore should act as models and invest in other developing countries.
He asked ASEAN countries to work together to bridge development gaps in the region, and welcomed their work in completing the Jakarta declaration, a region-specific plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The goals seek to slash a host of socio-economic ills, such as extreme poverty, hunger, and preventable diseases, by 2015.
Touching on health issues, the UN chief called for cooperation toward the goal of scaling up the prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS in the region and urged the ASEAN governments to be especially vigilant in improving surveillance, identifying infections, and working closely with civil societies to control the spread of the avian flu.
Annan also praised the government of Indonesia and the separatist Free Aceh Movement for ending their conflict in the area and welcomed the work of the Philippine government to create peace in the southern island of Mindanao with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
More than 160 heads of state and government will gather at the UN headquarters in New York for a three-day summit.
(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2005)