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Opening of the Regional United Nations Information Centre in Brussels

On Friday the 29th January the Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan inaugurated the European Regional United Nations Information Centre (RUNIC) together with Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhoftadt. He thanked the Belgian Government for having provided the premises for the new RUNIC free of charge.


The Secretary-General greeted the RUNIC staff and then spoke to the gathering of UN officials and the media.


"The peoples of Europe have supported the ideals and activities of the United Nations since its founding. In recent years, this has enabled us to build exemplary relations not only with the countries of Europe, but also with the institutions of the European Union."



"We are well aware that, in order to continue to enjoy your support and cooperation — which are very important to us — we must ensure that Europeans are well informed about what the United Nations is trying to do and that we know what Europeans expect of us."



"Hassen Fodha, one of our most experienced communications professionals, is RUNIC’s first director.  He will be leading a highly-skilled and multilingual team, based here at the Résidence Palace, in new offices most generously provided by the Belgian Government.  It will be his job to make sure that the whole of Europe is well informed about the United Nations.  I hope the European media and civil society will soon get used to turning to Hassen and his staff for information, and indeed inspiration."




The Secretary-General and the Belgian Prime Minister symbolically inaugurated the RUNIC office by unveiling a plaque.




The Secretary-General later joined, for about an hour, a gathering of over 50 United Nations and agency staff working in Belgium, chatting personally with many of them.