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UN General Assembly Marks 60th Anniversary of End of WWII

The UN General Assembly on Monday held a special session to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe and honor the soldiers and victims of the war.

Attending the meeting were UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette, General Assembly President Jean Ping, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld, and representatives from the other 190 UN member states.

Frechette told the meeting that as the world looks back to honor the dead and pay respects to the heroes, it was equally important to look ahead and "reaffirm our commitment to the goal of building a world fit for humankind."

"That is the best tribute we can pay to the millions who perished in World War II," she said. "Our work is never done. We are undefeated only because we have continued trying. That is the work of the United Nations, and the reason we are here today." 

"As fascism fell, the United Nations rose. As the ashes settled and the dust cleared, among the new features of the landscape was a new organization designed to better manage the world's affairs --most of all to help prevent such catastrophes from happening again."

Jean Ping used the occasion to call on nations to settle differences through peaceful means. "Today's commemoration must bean occasion to reaffirm common commitments to reject war as a way to settle differences. Millions are still suffering from the evil of armed conflict."

"That is why today's meeting is also an opportunity to think again of the simple but essential values of dialogue and tolerance between all peoples," he stressed.

Ambassadors from Russia and China, together with many other speakers, urged the strengthening of the United Nations and keep it in the center of the collective security system.

Noting one of the lessons of WWII is to shape a new world order, Russian Ambassador to the UN Andrey Denisov said the UN's principles and norms continue to be the only basis for the establishment of a safer and just world order.

"The further strengthening of the United Nations, as a key element in the collective security system meant to achieve the goal of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, is in the interest of all mankind," he said.

South Korean Ambassador Kim Sam-hoon called on Japan to repent for its aggression in WWII with actions. "True atonement requires more than just verbal apologies. Words of genuine apology should be translated into actions."

"In this regard, any attempt to distort history would set back the goal of reconciliation. Glossing over past wrongdoing and glorifying the perpetrators of atrocities prevents a true and lasting reconciliation," Kim emphasized.

Monday's special session was called in line with a resolution adopted by the assembly last November, which declared May 8 and 9 as the days of "remembrance and reconciliation". 

(Xinhua News Agency May 10, 2005)

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