Baden, 15 July 2004 - Austrian Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner has invited a high-ranking expert panel made up of former heads of state and government, ministers and eminent personalities of international organisations to participate in talks on the future of the United Nations in Baden from 16 to 18 July 2004. Ferrero-Waldner expressed her pleasure that Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, who had established the "High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change", accepted her invitation and will be present at the meeting. In view of the new global challenges and threats, Annan intends to present proposals for strengthening the United Nations system to the international community.
The Austrian Foreign Minister informed that Austria - together with its partners in the Human Security Network - had each submitted a concrete proposal to the group of experts with a view to strengthening the protection of human rights as a key to conflict prevention, peace and security.
Ferrero-Waldner met with Kofi Annan prior to the meeting and assured him that "the United Nations have traditionally enjoyed priority status in Austria: Vienna is an important UN Headquarter as well as the seat of distinguished organisations such as UNIDO and IAEA, to name but a few. The UN Headquarter, whose 25th anniversary we celebrate this year, provides Vienna and Austria with valuable impulses regarding our international standing and reputation as well as economic and cultural advantages."
The Foreign Minister emphasised that the strengthening of the United Nations was a major concern of hers: "We need a continuous re-adjustment of the UN to new global developments. In this context, I welcome the unanimous agreement of the Security Council, which is a good prerequisite for a strong involvement of the United Nations in the further procedure to be followed in Iraq. This UN involvement is an essential precondition for greater security in Iraq as well as for the reconstruction of the country. I have always emphasised that the United Nations must be assigned a major role in the future development of Iraq", the Foreign Minister explained.
Ferrero-Waldner added: "I also informed Kofi Annan of Austria’s position regarding the United Nation’s further institutional development, an issue decisive to future international relations. In this context, I reiterated the importance of strengthening the activities of the UN organisations located in Vienna.