6 July 2010

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

United Nations Cooperation with South-Eastern Europe Has Become Mature


Partnership in Multilateral Areas of Concern, Says Secretary-General


(Delayed for technical reasons.)

Following is Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), as delivered by Jan Kubiš, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe, in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23 June:

It is an honour to convey greetings to this Summit.  I thank President [Abdullah] Gül and the Government and people of Turkey for hosting this important meeting and for their contributions to regional cooperation throughout Turkey’s Chairmanship-in-Office.

The motto of Turkey’s chairmanship, “From Shared History to Common Future”, reflects the emphasis that the South-East European Cooperation Process places on greater solidarity and subregional integration, with a view towards full European integration. The energy that is on clear display in this process should help to ensure that the region’s future will not only be a shared one, but a bright one.

When SEECP was established in 1996, it was hard to imagine that countries that had just emerged from war would now be cooperating so extensively.  Yet we are seeing very encouraging collaboration in several areas.

Your cooperation on security matters is of great significance.  I am encouraged that some of your members are involved in maintaining international peace and security, either as elected members of the Security Council, as troop contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, or both.

Your diplomacy is just as dynamic.  Heads of State and Government are meeting regularly to discuss issues of shared interest ranging from cross-border cooperation to countering organized crime.

On regional integration, the Istanbul Declaration signed recently between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey called, not only for peaceful coexistence, but for actively building a common future.  This, too, would have been unimaginable only a few short years ago.

During the past decade, South-Eastern Europe has undergone a dramatic transformation.  A number of your members are already member States of the European Union, while others are actively pursuing the goal of accession.  Many of your members have also joined NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], or are in the process of doing so.  When serious problems have arisen between members, they have been settled through legal channels and dialogue, rather than by the use of arms or other coercive means.

The United Nations remains committed to supporting you in consolidating these remarkable changes.  Our cooperation with the region already reflects these new realities.  It has evolved from a focus on post-conflict humanitarian and conflict resolution assistance, to a mature partnership emphasizing multilateral issues of common concern.  This change is a welcome sign of the progress you continue to make on peace and stability.

We at the United Nations look forward to deepening our partnership in achieving the common goals of opportunity, security, prosperity and better lives for all your citizens.  Please accept my best wishes for a successful summit.

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For information media • not an official record