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Exchange of Toasts
United Nations Secretary General's Luncheon
U.N. Headquarters
New York, New York
November 10, 2001
1:44 P.M. EST

Mr. Secretary General, distinguished members of the United Nations community, excellencies, and ladies and gentlemen. It's a great honor to attend my first U.N. General Debate as President of the United States. It's a special pleasure for all of us this year to be in New York, a city whose strength, determination and civility have been a powerful testament to the human spirit.

My country is very honored that for over half a century, New York has
served as host to the United Nations. The United States and the United Nations have more in common than just a city; we also share a set of common values. Today those values are under attack, and the United Nations and the United States stand together to defend them.

In this great cause, it is a special honor for me to have found a great partner in Kofi Annan.

Mr. Secretary General, I appreciate the many times we have spoken, particularly over the last two months. These have been difficult and challenging days for my nation, and I've benefitted from your wisdom and your vision and your resolve and your optimism.

Mr. Secretary General, let me take this opportunity to congratulate you and the United Nations once again on your receipt of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr. Secretary General, you've been the leader of the United Nations at a time it needed leadership; at a time when your strong advocacy for peace and international public health and collective security was needed so badly. You've been a strong voice for human solidarity and vigilance against violence. And Americans deeply admire your strong defense of the universality of human rights. We've been called to fight many times in the defense of human rights, and today we're called again, because today our very civilization is threatened. Mr. Secretary General, we appreciate your support in this great struggle.

I offer you this toast: Mr. Secretary General, to the continued success of your stewardship of the United Nations, to the institution you serve so ably, and to our common search for peace and justice in the world. God bless.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

END 1:47 P.M. EST