Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Madrid (Spain), 04 April 2013

Let me begin by thanking again the President of Government, Mariano Rajoy Brey and the Government and people of Spain for their very warm welcome.

Muchas gracias por vuestra hospitalidad.

It is a great honour and pleasure for me to be back to Spain again. I had the pleasure of inaugurating two years ago with the Crown Prince the UN Support Base-Valencia, which symbolizes the strong commitment of Spain to the United Nations.

I am grateful for Spain’s support for the Organization. From reconstruction in Haiti to peacekeeping in Lebanon and mediation in the Mediterranean, Spain plays a key role in the international arena and I deeply appreciate it.

The United Nations also highly appreciates Spain’s support for the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, as well as your contributions to UN development aid and humanitarian activities.

The main reason of my visit this time is the spring meeting of the UN Chief Executives Board, during the coming two days, until Saturday. Twice a year, UN agency heads come together to take stock. This session is being hosted by the Madrid-based UN World Tourism Organization, and we are grateful to the Spanish and Madrileño authorities for all they do to make this a welcoming headquarters location.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prime Minister Rajoy and I just concluded a very fruitful meeting. We discussed over a range of many issues - the Sahel, Mali, Syria, Western Sahara and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I’m not going to repeat what President Rajoy had just explained in detail, but I would be happy to discuss this method through Q and A session.

We also talked about the Millennium Development Goals. In a happy piece of scheduling, my visit coincides with a milestone in the effort to achieve the MDGs: tomorrow marks 1000 days until the end of 2015, the MDG deadline.

The Goals have generated history’s largest and most successful anti-poverty push.

At the same time, there is still much work to do.

Later this evening I will be launching a special call to action. We all have a responsibility to make the most of the next 1000 days and fulfil the millennium promise to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Spain has been an extremely constructive partner in our efforts to eradicate poverty and inequality. I thank Spain for co-hosting today’s High-level Meeting on Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition, in which I will participate. I look forward to the country’s continued engagement and I will count on Spain’s commitment as we define a similarly ambitious post-2015 development agenda.

Let me conclude again by thanking you for welcoming me to Madrid. I am also taking the opportunity of my visit to meet with His Royal Highness, the Prince of Asturias. Before coming to this place to meet with Prime Minister Rajoy, I telephoned His Majesty King Juan Carlos expressing my best wishes for his speedy recovery and continued good health. He welcomed and he appreciated my call. He fully supported all these United Nations goals and commitments to meet the MDGs and he also commended the United Nations’ role in addressing many global challenges at this time. Again, I look forward to productive meetings and events here and I highly appreciate and commend the global leadership and efficiency of the President of the government, Mr. Rajoy, and I sincerely hope that under your leadership you will be able to manage all these economic difficulties of your country as one of the leaders of the European Union and global community. You will continue to demonstrate your leadership in working together with the United Nations to address all these global security, peace, development and human rights issues.

And I thank you very much.

Muchas Gracias.