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11 December 2001

11 December 2001

Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the inaugural session of the Assembly of Kosovo, delivered by Hans Haekkerup, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo, in Pristina on 10 December:

I am honoured to salute you today as the democratically elected representatives of Kosovo. The inauguration of your Assembly marks the beginning of the transfer of authority from the United Nations to the Provisional Institutions of Self-government. This is an important step towards the implementation of Security Council resolution 244, adopted two years ago. It is also a milestone on the road to democracy and peaceful development in Kosovo.

This is a day of hope, but also an occasion for reflection and renewed resolve. You face the challenge of achieving efficient daily government in particularly difficult circumstances. At the same time, you have an important task in overcoming the legacy of the past and establishing a political culture of tolerance, mutual respect and constructive compromise. No one must suffer discrimination by virtue of her or his ethnic origin. It is surely a good omen, therefore, that by the most fortuitous of coincidences, your Assembly is inaugurated on the same date as Human Rights Day is observed throughout the world. I trust that you will use wisely the mandate given to you by the people of Kosovo, and I wish you every success in your work.

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