Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Remarks to the press following meeting with United States President Barack Obama

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Washington, D.C. (USA), 10 March 2009

Thank you very much, Mr. President. I'm very much honored to meet you and to discuss all the matters of mutual concern and interest between the United Nations and the United States.

It's a very encouraging sign coming from your office to the United Nations that we are meeting at such an early stage of your administration. And I count on your great leadership. The United Nations and the United States share common visions and objectives for peace, stability, development and human rights. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, you can count on me for my full commitment in working together with you.

I think year 2009 is a “make-or-break” year, full of crises on many fronts -- for the United Nations, for the United States, and for the international community as a whole. For that, we need to work very closely to address all the issues. I have been closely following with the deepest admiration what [steps] you have been taking, [while] demonstrating great leadership, very dynamic and visionary, to overcome this international economic crisis. I welcome your very strong national stimulus packages, and I'm also looking forward to meeting you and discussing [matters] with you and other leaders at the G20 summit meeting in London.

What I'd like to emphasize, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, is that leaders of the G20 should not lose sight of the challenges and plight of hundreds of millions of the poorest people in the developing countries who have been impacted by this economic crisis.

The leaders of industrialized countries should keep their commitments on the Millennium Development Goals and official development assistance, and help developing countries overcome food security and also help them to adapt and mitigate climate change.

Climate change, as, Mr. President, you have said, is a priority for the United Nations and for the whole international community. I am going to focus and work together with the leaders of the world to address this issue, to unlock all of this massive investment for green economic recovery, and also to save our planet. This is an issue of our era. I count on your strong commitment and leadership. The whole world is now looking at your leadership. And I'm committed to work together with you.

We have discussed, as President Obama just mentioned, many issues, starting from Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq and Pakistan, and disarmament, and non-proliferation issues like the North Korean nuclear issues. And on all of these issues, I'm committed to work together with you. I count on your leadership.

The United Nations stands ready to work together with you, Mr. President, to make this “make-or-break” year turn into “make-it-work,” full of optimism and resolution. Thank you very much, Mr. President.