Secretary-General Remarks to Press Conference with President Cristina Fernandez
Buenos Aires, 13 June 2011
Senora Presidenta, muchas gracias para su hospitalidad. Es un honor visitarla otra vez en la Casa Rosada, en la bella y florida Buenos Aires, capital de este país grande y hermoso.
President Fernandez, I thank you for your warm welcome and for your leadership.
The President and I have just had a very good meeting.
Even though it has been very tiring and long to reach here. Fourteen hours from Bogota: six hours by airplane and eight hours by a very nice, comfortable bus. It was a very unique experience for me to see the beautiful sights and vastness of your country. It was quite impressive and I thank you very much for this opportunity.
With Madame President, we discussed the situation around the world and we are going to continue our discussions.
We discussed how the United Nations and Argentina can strengthen our partnership. Argentina is one of the strongest partners and most important Member States of the United Nations.
Argentina plays a crucial and ever growing role in the global arena.
You are strongly committed to the three pillars of the UN Charter: peace and security, development and human rights.
You are setting an example for the world through your country's groundbreaking progress in tackling impunity for human rights violations committed during the era of military dictatorship.
Argentina is also a reliable and very strong partner and supporter of UN peacekeeping operations, and I look forward to my visit to the CAECOPAZ training centre tomorrow. Argentina's contingent in Haiti is making a crucial contribution to improving that country's prospects.
I also want to congratulate Argentina on its remarkable progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] – in particular in the areas of child mortality, maternal health and universal primary education. And I am very glad that Argentina has already met some important pillars of the MDGs. Under such a strong leadership and commitment of President Fernandez, I am sure that the MDGs targets will be met by Argentina.
The challenge going forward will be to ensure inclusiveness and equality, and see that such gains reach those who have traditionally faced marginalization and discrimination, such as indigenous peoples.
Argentina is also leading by example on another priority close to your heart and mine, and that is through your country's achievement on women's political participation and its unwavering support to create and strengthen the newest member of the United Nations family: UN Women.
I have just asked the President Fernandez as a woman leader of this great country, she has showed great and courage and is an example of how a woman can lead this country and lead on global problems.
Argentina's leadership goes even further and farther.
Argentina is serving very effectively as a bridge between G20 and G77 and China. Argentina President Fernandez is [taking a] leadership role in human resources, development and trade pillars with the G20 summit meeting, and now currently, Argentina is leading the Group of G77 and China countries as a chairman, so this is a very unique position which can serve as a bridge role between G20 and G77.
This means that Argentina is in a position to find consensus between diverse groups of countries on topics so crucial to our common 21st century global agenda. This includes the Millennium Development Goals, South-South cooperation, global economic governance, multilateral trade negotiations, climate change, and sustainable development.
Argentina has an enormous responsibility in helping lead the G77 all the way to the Durban Climate Conference later this year. That will take balance and creativity, and I thank you for your effort and hard work. I am taking this opportunity; I'd like to commend the leadership role and commitment of [Argentina's Ambassador to the United Nations] Ambassador Jorge Argüello for his leadership.
I also want to thank your Government for actively supporting the Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development which will take place next year.
The Group of 77 has identified sustainable development as one of its top priorities, and on this and so many issues, Argentina's leadership will remain critical.
A final word on the debate over nuclear safety: of course, every state has the right to decide its own national energy policies. But the Fukushima incident in Japan underscores the enormous importance of nuclear safety and disaster-risk reduction.
It demands a collective and global response. This is why I will convene a High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security on September 22nd in New York during the General Assembly session. I welcome Argentina's and your Excellency's active participation.
My message to you, to the people of Argentina, and to this region is this: Argentina and Latin America can play an even bigger role in the United Nations, and the United Nations can play an even bigger role here in this region.
We are good partners already, and I want us to be even closer.
Muchas gracias. Thank you very much.