Secretary-General's press encounter with Foreign Minister Henry Odein Ajumogobia of Nigeria
Abuja, Nigeria, 23 May 2011SG: I am deeply impressed by this new building. I know that you moved just two months ago. Congratulations!
I am also here to congratulate once again your people and your country and your President [Goodluck] Jonathan on the recent elections, the very successful elections. It is a testament of your matured democracy. All international monitoring groups have witnessed that this election was conducted in a transparent and credible manner. I sincerely hope that this will give very good momentum to further build upon this successful election.
I would like to again [say that I] appreciate Nigeria's multifaceted partnership with the United Nations. I am grateful for Nigeria's generous contribution to the troops of the United Nations peacekeeping operations. You are the number fourth largest troop and police contributing country, participating in nine peacekeeping missions. That is almost two-thirds of our total of UN peacekeeping operations. Just a week after your independence 50 years ago, you were the first one to contribute and participate for the peace and stability in Congo -- and I do really appreciate it.
Thank you very much for recommending and producing such distinguished United Nations senior advisors starting from Mr. Babatunde Osotimehin, our new Executive Director of UNFPA, and Ibrahim Gambari, my Special Representative in UNAMID in Darfur. Just a few days ago, I appointed another very distinguished female Nigerian diplomat, Margaret Vogt, as my Special Representative [?] in Central African Republic. You have also Major General Obi who is now Force Commander in Sudan, in UNMIS. I really appreciate such a distinguished contribution of Nigerian citizens and I hope that with this we can expect an even more strengthened and further contribution of Nigeria to the work if the United Nations.
I do appreciate again the role of Nigeria in this region. As the presidency of ECOWAS, you have greatly contributed to a peaceful [resolution] of the sometime turbulent democratic process in Côte d'Ivoire. I am just coming from the inauguration ceremony of President [Alassane] Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire. You were there together with President Jonathan. It was a historic day -- historic not only for Côte d'Ivoire but for the people of the entire continent. It sent a strong message that people have their right to choose their own people and that a democratically-elected person should lead a country. You lead by example through successful and transparent presidential elections and parliamentary elections last month and again I sincerely congratulate you.
I am here to discuss with you on how United Nations and Nigeria - as regional leader of Africa and global leader in diplomacy - how we can strengthen our partnership in working for peace and stability and development and also in promoting human rights around the world.
I thank you and congratulate you for your role – your very successful leadership role – in the Security Council as Member of the Security Council. As Secretary-General, I am very happy to work with you on all the matters of the United Nations agenda. Thank you very much for your warm hospitality and support.
Q: Sir, last year you sent your special envoy on genocide to follow the disturbances in Joss, Northern Nigeria, Mr. Francis Deng. Has he turned in his report and what is the content?
SG: Professor Francis Deng, as my Special Advisor on genocide, has been monitoring the situation wherever there are signs or allegations of crimes against humanity or crimes of genocide. He has been taking his own role -- investigating, studying and monitoring the situation. He will continue to do. For the specific content of the report, I will check what is the current status of the report.
Q: Nigeria and other nations are waiting for a seat at the Security Council. I would like to know if the UN has set up guidelines or criteria for nations waiting for this seat.
SG: The United Nations Member States have been discussing and negotiating this issue for at least 20 years. During the last three years, the Member States have been accelerating this process. If I may say in general terms, Members States agree and there is a widely shared view that considering such dramatic and significant changes in the international situation, the Security Council should be changed and reformed in a more democratic and representative way. This is what they agree [to]. Now, for the exact modalities –how many members should be expanded and in what category, permanent membership, non-permanent membership or interim membership – all this has yet to be negotiate. Member States have begun already a text-based negotiation. This is quite encouraging. A third text has been distributed and this is now being actively negotiated among member States. I sincerely hope that Member States will continue to discuss this matter. About the first question, if I may add one thing, you should know Francis Deng's responsibility and main focus: he is most interested in prevention of such kind of crimes of genocide, not in condemning people or countries. So, wherever he monitors and studies and investigate, this will be used as a way to prevent such crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide.
Off-the-Cuff on 23 May 2011