United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Madrid from Panama early in the morning of Tuesday, 5 June.
The Secretary-General spoke that day to the staff of the World Tourism Organization. He told them about the importance of tourism as a means of bringing peoples together and, noting that it was World Environment Day, he also drew attention to efforts to create a greener United Nations. (See Press Release SG/SM/11028.)
On Tuesday afternoon, he met with Enrique Iglesias, Secretary-General of the Ibero-American Cooperation Secretariat of the Organization of the Ibero-American States, and also with Àngels Mataró i Pau, Director-General of the United Nations Association (UNA) in Spain.
The Secretary-General and Madam Ban met in a private dinner that evening with King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia at Zaruela Palace.
In Madrid on Wednesday, the Secretary-General met with Spanish Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero and the two discussed, among other topics, United Nations reform, climate change, the Alliance of Civilizations, Western Sahara, Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian issue and Kosovo.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference afterwards, the Secretary-General said, on climate change, that the United Nations is “uniquely placed to forge a common approach,” adding, “The time for action is now.”
He expressed his deep concern about the announcement of the breaking of the ceasefire by the Basque group ETA.
Asked about the upcoming talks on Western Sahara, the Secretary-General said that he sincerely hopes that the forthcoming meeting in New York under the auspices of the United Nations would be a good starting point so that the parties concerned would be able to find lasting solutions on this issue. He noted that the Security Council had urged the parties concerned to enter negotiations without any preconditions.
He also met that day with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, and the Defence Minister, José Antonio Alonso Suárez, and they exchanged views on Spain’s contribution to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and to international peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan. They also discussed Kosovo, Western Sahara, United Nations reform and the Alliance of Civilizations. During a meeting with the First Vice-President of the Spanish Government, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, issues of climate change, United Nations reform and the underrepresentation of women at a decision-making level within the United Nations system were raised.
That afternoon, he visited Toledo, and later in the day, back in Madrid, he had talks with Don Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro Rivero, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The Secretary-General and his delegation departed Madrid for Berlin early on Thursday morning.