10 March 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12131

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL, NEW UNITED STATES PRESIDENT AGREE ON WIDE RANGE

 

OF ISSUES IN FIRST OFFICIAL MEETING

 


Following is the text of a statement issued following United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s meeting with United States President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., today, 10 March:


The Secretary-General had a wide-ranging and very productive meeting with United States President Barack Obama at the White House on the afternoon of 10 March.  They welcomed strong United States-United Nations cooperation and agreed that there is scope for even greater cooperation between the United States and the United Nations on a wide range of issues.


The meeting covered a broad range of issues confronting the international community.  They discussed the international economic crisis, and emphasized the need to ensure that the world’s poor and most vulnerable people are not left behind.  Both called for redoubling efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and ensure food security around the world.  They agreed that progress could be made on this front even during difficult economic times.


Both the President and the Secretary-General strongly emphasized the need for an international agreement on climate change, both to save the planet and ensure a sustainable economic recovery.  Both committed to pursue this objective by the end of the year at the United Nations Climate Convention Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.


They discussed at length the situation in Sudan, particularly the acute humanitarian situation caused by the Government’s decision to expel 13 international non-governmental organizations, and emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution of the situation.


They also discussed the need for strengthening civilian support for Afghanistan, facilitating cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, actively pursuing peace in the Middle East, supporting reconstruction in Haiti, as well as working together to support Iraq in a period of transition.  They also discussed disarmament and non-proliferation issues, including the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


The President and the Secretary-General spoke at length about strengthening the United Nations to be able to play a critical role in managing the full range of challenges facing the world today.  They discussed the critical importance of ensuring that the United Nations has the support necessary to fulfil the important tasks asked of it.


The Secretary-General welcomed President Obama’s statement that the United Nations is an extraordinarily constructive partner for bringing peace and security to the world.


“We look forward,” the Secretary-General said, “to working together to turn this ‘make-or-break’ year full of crises into a ‘make-it-work’ year full of solutions.”


* *** *


For information media • not an official record