21 July 2012 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today praised Croatia's achievements since it first became a member of the United Nations 20 years ago, and stressed that the Eastern European nation can help support other countries which are currently in transition.
“Two decades ago, Croatia was in turmoil. Today, Croatia helps countries and people manage the transition to democracy,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks at an event hosted by the Academy for Political Development in Zagreb, the capital. “I thank Croatia for its international engagement. Your work for the region and the world has made Croatia stronger.”
Mr. Ban emphasized that Croatia's deepening engagement over the years with the UN is a powerful testimony to the country's belief in multilateralism, and called on the Eastern European country to help support other countries currently undergoing transitions.
“There is a growing global movement for democracy. Croatia's experiences can serve the world,” Mr. Ban said. “And by contributing its experience internationally, this country will become stronger in its own right.”
In particular, Mr. Ban highlighted how Croatia had gone from being host to five different peacekeeping missions, to contributing troops to other UN missions all over the world including Timor-Leste, Haiti, Lebanon and Liberia.
In addition to promoting stability, Mr. Ban noted that Croatia can also contribute to sustainable development, which he called “the defining issue of our era.”
“Some may argue that jobs and economic growth are more important. This misses the point that investing in sustainable development will generate better jobs, cleaner growth and a greener future,” Mr. Ban said, adding that given the country' success in achieving energy efficiency, Croatia has enormous potential to develop its renewable resources.
Mr. Ban also visited today the Andrija tampar School of Public Health where he spoke of the importance of making tackling global health threats such as HIV/AIDS polio and malaria.
The Secretary-General also met and held a joint press conference in Brijuni with Croatian President Ivo Josipoviæ, with whom he discussed several topics including Syria, with Mr. Ban repeating his call for an immediate stop of violence from all sides to allow for an inclusive political process.
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