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Message of the General Secretary of the United Nations on the 1000th annivesary of the City of Kazan

It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to the people and authorities of the city of Kazan and the Russian Federation on the occasion of the city's 1,000th anniversary. Throughout its rich history, Kazan has been an important crossroads of civilizations, a place where peoples of many differing cultures and traditions have engaged in commerce and exchanged ideas. Such long-standing knowledge and experience of global diversity is a valuable asset in an increasingly interdependent world, and I urge the people of Kazan to continue to embrace tolerance and keep it one of the city's guiding characteristics.

Though nowhere near as old as Kazan, the United Nations is also marking an important anniversary this year: 60 years since its founding at the end of the Second World War, As we remember both our achievements and setbacks, we, too, find ourselves at a crossroads. Events of recent years have shaken the international community and its multilateral instruments of common progress. So we are also thinking ahead, and engaging in a constructive debate about the future: how to defeat poverty; how to build an effective collective security system; and how to increase respect for human dignity in every land.

This will be the test before world leaders when they gather in New York, in a little over two weeks, for the 2005 World Summit. Historic, fundamental progress is possible. But it will depend not just on the will of Governments, but also on the engagement of people everywhere, including the men, women and youth of Kazan. Congratulations again on this happy occasion. May you prosper and live in harmony for many years to come.