To: memphisguy who wrote ( 15971) 9/11/2002 1:49:36 AM From: M0NEYMADE Respond to of 15987 SING KUMBYAA Switzerland joins NEW WORLD ODOR THE LAST HOLDOUT. United Nations September 10, 2002 Posted: 4:44 PM EDT (2044 GMT) cnn.com UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Switzerland became the 190th member of the United Nations on Tuesday, pledging to respect its traditional neutrality while pursuing human rights, world peace and the struggle against poverty. The U.N. General Assembly admitted Switzerland by acclamation as one of its first official acts on the opening day of its 57th session. The world body is due to admit the tiny southeast nation of East Timor as its 191st member later in the month. Afterward, President Kaspar Villiger and other Swiss officials were to join U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a ceremony marking the raising of the Alpine nation's flag -- a white cross on a red background. Villiger, in remarks to reporters ahead of the ceremony, thanked the United Nations for tolerating Switzerland's unique flag, which is square while all others -- with the exception of Nepal's, which has a pointy design -- are rectangular. But unless the wind is blowing hard, "they will all look about the same," Villiger said. Staunchly protective of their neutrality, the Swiss voted in March by a narrow margin to join the United Nations, taking a significant step away from their traditional isolationism. It was the first country to join the world body after a popular vote. "We've all waited a long time for this day. In a way, it feels as if the family of nations has finally come together and this is really wonderful," Annan told Swiss officials at a morning meeting. "We look forward to working with you as a full member of this organization." True to their hard-working and conscientious reputation, the Swiss quickly put to rest concerns about how their neutral status might affect their new role in the world body. "It is greatly important to us that the principle of neutrality, which is deeply rooted in Switzerland, retains its validity," Villiger said in remarks prepared for the day's festivities. But Swiss neutrality "is in no way self-serving," he said. "There is no neutrality in the face of crime. Neutrality is an instrument that can contribute in its own way to the achievement of common values and goals." Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss said the Swiss would carve a niche for themselves by focusing on human rights and democracy, the start-up of the International Criminal Court and reforming U.N. sanctions regimes so they better target outlaw governments without unwelcome side effects. "The United Nations is not perfect, as we all know, but as an organization its role is more vital than ever," Deiss told a news conference. "Unilateralism and isolationism lead nowhere. This is just as true for big countries as for smaller ones." Asked how Switzerland would deal with Iraq, where U.S. President George W. Bush has been pressing for "a regime change," Deiss said the United Nations should initially pursue all available avenues for the readmission of arms inspectors "in a peaceful manner." "Any action of another kind -- including military action -- should be based on a legitimacy which can only be given by the Security Council," he said. The federation of 7.2 million people is no stranger to the United Nations. Switzerland has long been tied to the world body as one of the largest contributors to the U.N. budget and host to its European headquarters in Geneva. The wealthy mountainous state marked the occasion with typical reserve as the sober Swiss refused to let the celebratory bubble and fizz go to their heads. While images of the event were beamed back home, pomp and ceremony were notable only by their absence on the immaculate streets of Swiss cities. "Raising flags and clinking glasses is not how it's done," said the mass circulation Blick newspaper. "If Switzerland wants to achieve anything in the world body, the diplomats will have to roll their sleeves up."