Secretary-General's press encounter with President Christian Wulff of Germany
Berlin, 3 February 2011SG: (Salutations in German)
It is good to be back in Berlin. Tomorrow, I will meet with leaders in the Bundestag, speak at Humboldt University and hold talks with Foreign Minister Westerwelle.
And the day after tomorrow, on Saturday, I will have an opportunity of meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and participate in the Munich Security Conference.
Tonight the President and I discussed a number of issues of our common interest and concern such as the UN-German partnership and UN reform, climate change and disarmament as well as regional issues like Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan, Somalia and, of course, the situation in Egypt.
I expressed my deepest gratitude to the Government of Germany and President Wulff for such strong support for the United Nations and I count on his leadership and the German Government's continued support in working together with the United Nations in dealing with many global and regional challenges.
The President and I share particular concern about the intimidation and restrictions on the international media and human rights groups in Cairo.
Let me be absolutely clear. This is outrageous and totally unacceptable. It must stop now.
Respecting freedom of expression and assembly as well as information is a crucial and essential part of democratic values.
I once again strongly urge the Egyptian authorities to listen to the voices of the people and immediately start real change.
Q: What influence does the international community have when not even Security Council talks about events in Egypt?
SG: I, together with many world leaders, have been expressing first of all our concern about this continued violence in Egypt, and I have stated many times, including today, that freedom of assembly, freedom of speech should be fully guaranteed together with the human rights of all those people peacefully demonstrating and expressing their desire, their concerns, to the government.
The United Nations stands ready to assist and help in any way the Egyptian authorities and people when they begin their transition and changes, including elections.
I will discuss this later with Member States and members of the Security Council when I return to New York.
Q: (inaudible) on comments by world leaders calling for President Mubarak to step down now.
SG: I cannot comment on any individual leaders' position on this matter. But we have seen that there were many world leaders who have been expressing their concerns and very genuine advice, sincere advice, to the Egyptian authorities to make the necessary reforms reflecting the genuine wishes and concerns expressed so far by the people.
Q: (inaudible) on name issue
SG: This issue has been discussed through my personal envoy, Mr. [Matthew] Nimitz. He has been talking with the countries concerned, the parties concerned. I sincerely hope that this name issue which has been long standing and which has very important implications in bilateral relationships as well as relations in the region. This should be resolved as soon as possible, and I will do my best efforts to encourage first of all my personal envoy as well as the parties concerned, the Greek Government and the FYROM Government, to sincerely engage in dialogue.
Off-the-Cuff on 3 February 2011