Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks to the press

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Kuwait City (Kuwait), 28 March 2012

I am pleased to visit Kuwait for the second time soon after I have started my second term as Secretary-General.

This morning, I had a very constructive exchange of views on matters of our common concern with His Highness Emir. And today, I had the pleasure of meeting with senior officials of the Foreign Ministry, headed by the Under-Secretary.

Kuwait is an important and very strong partner of the United Nations in the areas of peace and security, development and human rights. As you will agree, Kuwait is a very vibrant, democratic country with a free press. I’m very pleased and encouraged to see that the recent Parliamentary election was conducted successfully in a credible and democratic way. They have set an example, good example at this time of momentous change in the Arab world.

During the course of my meetings with His Highness Emir and senior government officials, we discussed a wide range of regional issues including the crisis in Syria, the Arab League Summit meeting, which is now taking place in Baghdad, and Kuwait-Iraq relations and the partnership between the United Nations and Kuwait.

I welcome the progress in normalizing relations between Iraq and Kuwait.

Prime Minister of Iraq [Nuri Kamel] Al-Maliki’s recent visit to Kuwait was an important step. So too is the forthcoming visit of His Highness Emir of Kuwait to Iraq for the League of Arab States Summit meeting.

I am encouraged by the resumption of the Joint Ministerial Committee between Iraq and Kuwait to address all outstanding issues.

I urge Iraq to fulfill its long-standing obligations to Kuwait.

The United Nations is committed to the security and stability of Kuwait and the implementation of all outstanding Security Council resolutions, particularly regarding Kuwaiti missing persons and property, the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Maintenance Project, and compensation.

On the situation in Syria, I remain deeply concerned about the continuing conflict, the bloodshed and the displacement of thousands of people.

As you know, the Syrian government has written to the Joint Special Envoy, Mr. Kofi Annan, accepting his six-point plan, which was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

I share Mr. Annan's view that this is an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed, provide aid to those people who are suffering, and create an environment conducive to a political dialogue that would fulfill the long-held legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.

I strongly urge President Assad of Syria to put those commitments into immediate effect. There is no time to waste.

Mr. Annan is working urgently with all parties to secure implementation of the plan at all levels. I sincerely appreciate his tireless efforts and the evident support he is receiving from the international community.

The Middle East peace process is also at a dangerous impasse.

I appeal to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to show courage and vision to return to meaningful negotiations that will resolve the core issues of the conflict and end the occupation that started in 1967.

Shukran jazeelan, and now I will be happy to answer some of your questions.