Secretary-General's press encounter after meeting with German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel
Berlin, Germany, 15 July 2008SG: (in German) Sehr geehrte Frau Bundeskanzlerin, sehr geehrte Damen und Herren von der Presse,
Ich freue mich sehr, heute unter Ihnen zu sein. Wie sie wissen, ist Deutschland immer ein starker Partner für die UNO gewesen. Ich schätze unsere gute Zusammenarbeit sehr.
Wenn sie erlauben, werde ich jetzt weiter auf englisch sprechen.
(continuing in English): Being here in Berlin today, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for Germany's overall cooperation, political, financial and military support to the United Nations. And I am very much honoured to be in Germany at this time.
Germany is the third largest contributor to the regular UN budget and together, the 27 member states of the European Union contribute over a third of the overall UN budget.
In recent years, Germany has also increased its military contributions to UN peacekeeping operations. Today, there are over 600 German military and police officers serving in UN missions. In addition, Germany provides large troop contingents to non-UN peacekeeping missions operating under a UN mandate, notably in Afghanistan. I thank you very much for dispatching already over 2,200 soldiers for Afghanistan.
And Germany is also a major UN location with altogether 18 UN bodies situated in Berlin, Bonn, Frankfurt and Hamburg. The UN's decision to base the offices and secretariats of various UN bodies in Germany is a demonstration of how greatly the country's commitment to the World Organisation is appreciated.
The UN system also benefits from the able advice and leadership of many German nationals who serve in the UN Secretariat, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as in the field. We are grateful for their valuable contributions.
I would like also to emphasize my sincere appreciation for the personal leadership of Chancellor Merkel for advancing the global agenda, particularly on climate change and the food crisis and development issues.
During the G8 presidency last year in Heiligendamm, and since, she has been instrumental in forging a common path forward.
Chancellor Merkel and I have been working together closely on key issues in peace and development.
In today's meeting, we discussed the latest developments in Sudan, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Myanmar, particularly in the light of this weekend's summit of the Mediterranean Union.
Finally, we also exchanged views on Georgia/Abkhazia, Kosovo and Iran's nuclear programme.
(in German): Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, ich bedanke mich bei Ihnen für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit. Danke schön.
Q: [inaudible, on food crisis]
SG: We are now working to meet the immediate and urgent needs, but these immediate and urgent needs have been met temporarily by generous contributions. But this may be the last for some months. We need significantly more contributions and we need to address medium and long-term matters, which may be more important in terms of structure. And then of course we need continuing support from the European Union and that's what I discussed with the Chancellor.
Q: [inaudible, on Darfur]
SG: Basically I share what Chancellor Merkel said on this issue. I made the position of the United Nations very clear in my official statement, and also in my press conference yesterday in Paris. The International Criminal Court is an independent constitutional organ. As such the decisions and the independence of the ICC should be respected. Peace and justice are both very important principles. Peace and justice in fact should go hand in hand. Peace without justice cannot be sustainable. At the same time, I would like to urge the government of Darfur and the President of Sudan, al-Bashir, to ensure that he meets all the conditions and obligations in Darfur and all of Sudan, that the United Nations peacekeeping operations should be able to carry out their duties and their missions, as mandated by the Security Council. At the same time, there are [more than 16,000 humanitarian workers] who are supporting more than 4 million refugees and internally displaced persons. This is a huge operation, a very noble operation and the workers should also be protected. I would again urge the Sudanese government to fully cooperate with the United Nations.