Secretary-General's press encounter with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Rome, Italy, 3 June 2008SG: Thank you very much Mr. Prime Minister for your very kind, great comments.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen of the media.
It's a great pleasure to be in Italy again as Secretary-General at a very important time when Prime Minister Berlusconi has taken over his leadership again. And I was so very much grateful to the Government of Italy to host this very important meeting, addressing this global food crisis. This morning and tomorrow, we have had, and will have very important meetings to galvanize political agreement and mobilize necessary resources to address this global food crisis. I was very much encouraged by the number of high level representatives and their strong commitments and consensus and views that this is an issue affecting humanity and all possible efforts should be mobilized.
I have urged this morning in my statement that leaders of the international community should be able to agree on much more comprehensive and concrete terms. The measures, on a short term, began long term measures to address these issues. In that regard, I appreciate Prime Minister Berlusconi's leadership and full cooperation. As the Prime Minister said this evening, the leaders of the world will sit down together and discuss in a candid and concrete manner how we can work out these strategies to address these issues.
On a bilateral relationship, I regard the Italian Government as one of the strongest partners of the United Nations. Italy is the 6 th largest financial contributor and also in the areas of peacekeeping operations, the Italian Government and people have been making great contributions, starting from UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon] in Lebanon . General Graziano has been demonstrating extraordinary distinguished leadership and you have many peacekeepers in Afghanistan . I sincerely hope that such leadership and commitment of the Italian Government and people will continue in the future.
This evening, even with very limited time, we were able to discuss a number of issues of mutual concern and interest – the situation in Lebanon and in Afghanistan , and most importantly, the situation in Kosovo. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I have been maintaining very close consultations with all the parties concerned, interested parties and stakeholders on the Kosovo situation, and my priority, first and foremost priority is to first of all de-escalate the situation on the ground and try to find a mutually acceptable and agreeable solution so that we will be able to see peace and stability in the Balkans. In that regard, I count on the initiatives and cooperation of the Italian Government, the European Union and other parties concerned at this time, to have a harmonious solution to the Kosovo issue. We need some sense of flexibility, sense of creativity, and mutual cooperation. I am committed to continuing this consultation to have a smooth and harmonious relationship of this issue.
I am very much happy again to visit Italy and I will have another opportunity starting from late August when I'll organize a retreat again in Torino for the senior managers of the United Nations, and I do appreciate all the hospitality, cooperation and support of the Italian Government to the United Nations.
Thank you very much.