United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Bratislava in the morning of Sunday, 27 January. They first visited the United Nations regional centre, where the Secretary-General met with heads of United Nations agencies and held a town hall meeting with the staff. Later that day, the Secretary-General met with Slovak Foreign Minister Ján Kubiš. Their talks focused on a range of issues including the Millennium Development Goals, Slovakia’s involvement in United Nations missions and the situation in Sudan’s Darfur area.
On Monday, the Secretary-General met with President Ivan Gašparovič at the presidential palace in Bratislava. They discussed United Nations reform, Slovakia’s contribution to security sector reform, Kosovo, Cyprus and the Middle East.
During a joint press conference after their meeting, the Secretary-General underlined Slovakia’s key contributions to the causes of the United Nations, ranging from peace and security to development and human rights. “In the relatively short period of your independence,” the Secretary-General said, “you have come full circle from an aid beneficiary to a donor nation, funding scores of development projects in poor parts of Asia and Africa. Your experience is very important as we are accelerating the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.” The Secretary-General announced a high-level meeting to be held at the United Nations in September to galvanize political will on reaching the development targets of the millennium. On the issue of Kosovo, the Secretary-General reiterated his position: “My first and foremost priority will be to protect human lives and preserve the achievements of the United Nations.”
The Secretary-General met later in the morning with the Speaker of the National Council, Pavol Paška, and Prime Minister Robert Fico, before boarding his flight to Kigali, Rwanda.