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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Brahimi urges world to have realistic goals for peace processes

9 July 2004 The world's expectations for peace-making processes in countries emerging from war or other crises are becoming more ambitious and less realistic, United Nations Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi said yesterday as he received the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal from the German UN Association.

Accepting the medal at a ceremony in Munich, Mr. Brahimi said his experiences over the past 15 years of trying to help resolve conflicts and build stable states around the world showed "that this business of peace-making is not getting any easier."

But he said the international community's agendas have changed during the same period - both about what can be achieved and how can quickly.

"They have become more ambitious and multi-faceted, seeking to promote justice, national reconciliation, human rights, gender equality, the rule of law, sustainable economic development and democracy, all at the same time, from day one, now, immediately, even including in the midst of conflict."

Mr. Brahimi said his work as a negotiator and adviser in Lebanon, South Africa, Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq since 1989 taught him that luck and good timing are invaluable and that establishing peace is always highly risky.

Referring to Iraq, where he helped facilitate the formation of the interim Government that took office last month, he said rebuilding the country can succeed, thanks to Iraq's "many talented and educated people, as well as abundant natural resources."

But he said the lack of security, the legacy of decades of repression, the destruction of state institutions and deep inter- and intra-sectarian tensions mean any political, social or economic reconstruction will be extremely difficult.

Mr. Brahimi urged the world to be realistic about what the UN can achieve, adding that the international community also has to play its part to help post-conflict countries "improve the odds for success."

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