21 March 2012
Secretary-General
SG/SM/14178

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

At ‘Critical Moment in History’, United Nations Needs Support of Asia,

 

Entire International Community to Address Global, Regional Challenges

 


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as delivered at his dinner with Dato’ Sri Anifah Haji Aman, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, today, 21 March:


My wife and I are deeply honoured and deeply moved by such a warm welcome and very kind words and support for me and for the United Nations.


This is my first visit to Malaysia in my capacity as Secretary-General of the United Nations.  You said it is 15 years ago when my predecessor visited here.  But I have visited Malaysia many, many times in my previous capacities.  And I am very happy to be back in Malaysia, and I was very much impressed by what you have achieved during the last recent days.


I thank the Government of Malaysia and her people for such a strong support in giving me a mandate to serve as Secretary-General of the United Nations for a second term.  I look forward to working with you over the next five years as we implement the Action Agenda that I set out earlier this year.


I am here to explore with you, Mr. Minister, and the people of Malaysia, how we can do even more together.   Malaysia is a friend to the United Nations.  You support our principles and contribute to our work – from peacekeeping to sustainable development.


I have watched with interest how your diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society has developed into a stable middle-income nation.  This is a remarkable success story.  You have weathered financial shocks, including the great economic crisis of the late 1990s, and you continue to enjoy high economic growth.


Asia’s rise is a defining story of our time.  It has reshaped global politics and transformed the economic landscape.  It has lifted billions of people from poverty.


Malaysia is a model in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  You have achieved most of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals ahead of the target date 2015.  This is, again, an exemplary model case.


I hope you will disseminate your experience and your lessons to many other developing countries who are really struggling to meet the targets by 2015.  I am convinced that the lessons you have learned will be lessons to many, many countries, particularly in the global South.


I am also sure that there is more we can do together to assist the most vulnerable people in today’s world.


When disasters strike, such as the one which hit South-East Asian countries in 2004, the drought in the Horn of Africa, or last year’s tsunami in Japan, the UN responds and the world is grateful.


But to save lives we need the tools and we need the funds.


When I look at the list of contributors to the United Nations Central Emergency Relief Fund, I would like to see the countries from Asia higher on the list.


I am proud to be Asia’s second Secretary-General.  And my message to my Asian friends, my Asian family, is that we should use our and your new wealth and prosperity to help those less fortunate so that all humanity around the world may benefit.


To that end, let me commend Your Excellency for the pledge of $1 million to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Trust Fund on Somalia that you announced at last year’s General Assembly general debate.  Let me also commend you on the strong stance your country takes on extremism and addressing the root causes of terrorism.  Your Global Movement of the Moderates has strong echoes in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.


I am pleased that you are working to complement the Alliance’s activities and objectives.  I shall speak more on all of these issues tomorrow at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations.


When the Foreign Minister addressed the general debate, he spoke on mediation.  Nowhere do we see the need more urgently today than in Syria.  To quote the Foreign Minister’s own words:  “It is the only option available for the achievement of lasting peace.”


The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Mr. Kofi Annan, my predecessor, continues to work to build the bridges that we will need for a durable settlement of this crisis.  He will need the support of the whole international community, including Malaysia, speaking with one voice.


The United Nations is determined to meet these challenges and many others.  But the United Nations and I cannot do it alone.  At this critical moment in history – when so much is at stake for people all over the world – I am here to say to the Government and people of Malaysia:  we need your ideas, your experience and your continued commitment and support.


And we need the support and full participation of all the Member States of the United Nations, represented by your able ambassadors in this hall.  And I really count on your support and contribution, your proactive engagement, to address all the global challenges or regional conflicts, whether it be politics, security, development or natural disasters.  When we are united, we can make this world better for all.


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For information media • not an official record