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Video

Radio report

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

05 November 2008


Press encounter following the U.S. election

(Unofficial transcript)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a great pleasure to see you again.

On behalf of the United Nations — and myself personally — I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to Senator Barack Obama as the next President of the United States.

I have followed the campaign very closely and with great interest over the past year. Both candidates in this election are outstanding men. Both champion causes close to our hearts at the United Nations. Today, Barack Obama is America’s choice.

As Secretary-General of the UN, I look forward to working with the new administration to fulfill our common goals and enormously important objectives. This is, I believe, an historic opportunity.

During the campaign, I remember the President-elect speaking eloquently and with passion about “change you can believe in.” He spoke about a “new era of global partnership” and building “bridges of cooperation with the UN and other nations.”

“No country has a stronger stake in a strong United Nations,” he said. And he added, if I may quote some more, “True partnership requires sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy, of progress and peace. It requires partners who listen to one another, learn from each other and, most important, trust each other.”

I am confident, today, about future relations between the United Nations and the United States. I am confident that we can look forward to an era of renewed partnership and a new multilateralism.

If ever there were a time for the world to join together, it is now: the global financial crisis; the crisis of climate change; the challenge of fulfilling our promises on the Millennium Development Goals, made more difficult by the twin crises of food and energy prices – these are profound challenges requiring collaboration and cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen, next week, I will travel to Washington for the summit meeting on “Financial Markets and the World Economy” to be held on November 15.

Today, I am heading to Kenya for the UN-backed summit of the African Union concerning the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I will sit down together with President [Joseph] Kabila [of the Democratic Republic of the Congo] and President [Paul] Kagame [of Rwanda] and encourage them to find a path to peace.

I have been on the phone daily — many times daily — with world leaders working to resolve this conflict.

From Kenya, I will join the Quartet meetings on the Middle East, to be held in the region this weekend.

We also have two other crucially important meetings coming up—one on the conference on financing for development in Doha later this month, and another on climate change in Poznan, Poland, to be held early in December.

All these issues, and many more, require one thing above all else. They require the world’s engagement, working together for global leadership.

Today, I look forward to working closely with President-elect Obama. And I also want to congratulate my good friend, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, with whom I have worked so closely during his many years on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

With a glad heart, I welcome this new era of partnership for change.

Thank you very much.