Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks at joint press encounter with Foreign Minister Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus Maria Timmermans of the The Netherlands

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, The Hague (Netherlands), 08 April 2013

Thank you, Your Excellency Foreign Minister Timmermans. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

I am pleased to be back at The Hague. I thank Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, Prime Minister Rutte, Foreign Minister Timmermans and the Government and people of the Netherlands for their warm welcome.

I deeply value the close partnership between the Netherlands and the United Nations.

This country plays an important and constructive role around the world. It is a leading progressive force
in promoting the rule of law, disarmament, the peaceful settlement of disputes and sustainable development.

The Netherlands is also a champion of human rights and gender equality and it is engaged on climate change and the post-2015 development agenda process.

These priorities are my priorities, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, and we have a natural collaboration. And I really appreciate such a strong partnership between the United Nations and the Netherlands.

This morning, I will open the Third Review Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. This session provides an important opportunity to shape the future of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. I expect we will focus on how to deal with remaining tasks and future challenges. And I deeply appreciate the Foreign Minister Timmermans’ strong commitment on this, and we are working together on this shortly this afternoon.

My meetings with Dutch officials also focussed on a number of other issues including Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the crisis in Mali, the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and international support to Afghanistan beyond 2014. In addition, we discussed international development priorities and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

I deeply appreciate the continuing commitment and support and exemplary leadership by the Dutch Government in reaching the target of 0.7% of GNI by 2015. Netherlands is one of only five countries in the world who are [setting] these great examples.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with the President and the judges of the International Court of Justice. And later today, I will meet with the presidents of the international courts and the special tribunals.

I am deeply grateful to the Netherlands and The Hague for hosting these institutions, as well as the International Court of Justice. This is the capital of the international justice system –
and further proof that the Netherlands and the United Nations are working for common goals.

I thank you very much and I am happy to take some of your questions.