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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's Press Stakeout with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota

Brasilia, Brazil, 16 June 2011

Boa tarde, estou muito feliz de estar aqui em Brasilia.

Thank you very much, Mr. Minister, for your kind hospitality. I'm very pleased to visit Brazil. This is my third time as Secretary-General.

Last year, I visited Rio de Janeiro to participate in the Alliance of Civilizations meeting.

Today, I had discussions with Minister Patriota on overall issues pertaining to the strong participation between the United Nations and Brazil. I am very grateful to the people and government of Brazil for their strong commitment and leadership role they have been demonstrating in dealing with world peace and security, regional integration, development and the promotion of values and goals of the United Nations, including human rights.

I told Minister Patriota that the United Nations and I as Secretary-General are very pleased to see such a growing role, regional and global role, played by Brazil. As a member of the G20, as a member of the G77, Brazil is positioned in a very strategically good position to make a consensus between the developed and developing countries, and I appreciate such a strong commitment to promote South-South cooperation and this is exactly what we expect from emerging countries like Brazil.

That should not give any pretext that North-South cooperation should be weakened. That should also be strengthened, but South-South cooperation has been playing a very important role and I really count on Brazil's continued support and contributions.

In the peace and security area, Brazil has been demonstrating their leadership. In Haiti, they have been sending troops, humanitarian assessment teams, and General [Major General Luiz Eduardo Ramos] Pereira is heading MINUSTAH [the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti] as Force Commander, and they have been sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste and their peacebuilding contribution in Guinea-Bissau lead by Ambassador Maria Luiza RibeiroViotti as chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission is very much appreciated.

In all of these matters, I am very much pleased to work together with Brazil? as a promoter and leader in creating UNASUR [the Union of South American Nations].

And I'm also looking forward to working very closely with UNSAUR, in addition to several regional organizations, including the Organization of American States and Mercasur and [inaudible] and CARICOM and many regional and subregional organizations here.

[Another] very important thing on which I count on Brazil's leadership: that's sustainable development, the Rio+20 conference next year. This will be the most important, top priority issue for the United Nations. We have been dealing with climate change, we have made good progress, even though we are not able to agree on global acceptable comprehensive agreement. We are now facing food security, energy security, water scarcity issues and health issues.

All of these health issues are interlinked. Therefore, we need to link these dots. That means we need to look at these issues from a broader perspective in a more comprehensive way. That is what I expect that the Rio+20 conference will do next year under the leadership of President Dilma Rousseff and the United Nations will not spare any effort. We will exert all the efforts to make this Rio+20 a great success for humanity, to make this world and planet earth environmentally sustainable and hospitable.

Obrigado.

Q: [Question in Portuguese on confidentiality of public documents]

SG: I understand every country has their own systems and regulations in keeping these public documents' confidentiality. Some countries [keep documents confidential for] 20 years or 30 years - that depends upon each individual government. Therefore, I will leave it to the decisions and discretion of the Brazilian government.

Q: The United Nations Security Council has been deadlocked on the issue of Syria for some time. Do you back the resolution being discussed? On Libya, despite the UN resolutions, what needs to happen next?

SG: I have expressed my position repeatedly, many times, most recently yesterday while visiting Uruguay. The situation in Syria is [of deep] concern. I have discussed and talked to President [Bashar Al-]Assad several times on this matter. I have strongly urged him to listen to the wishes and aspirations of their people and he should take utmost care to protect human lives. It is totally unacceptable that many civilians, peacefully demonstrating to have their genuine wishes for greater freedom and democracy [heard], have been killed and wounded, and I again strongly urge President Assad and his authorities, his regime's authorities, to stop killing people and to engage in inclusive dialogue and to take bold measures, decisive and bold measures, before it is too late. And I also hope that the United Nations will be able to speak in a coherent manner.

And on Libya, again, the United Nations has taken very swift and bold and decisive measures. I have been speaking to Libyan authorities and my Special Envoy has visited already eight times. He has met the Prime Ministers and many other people. It is important that, first of all, they immediately stop killing people. A ceasefire in a verifiable manner [is needed] so that the United Nations and other international humanitarian community can provide humanitarian assistance to many needy people. The humanitarian situation in many places, in many cities like in Misrata, has very much deteriorated. And we will continue to have this political dialogue to have a ceasefire, a verifiable ceasefire. And we are also now starting to prepare for post-crisis arrangements, a peacebuilding and peacemaking process, and including providing humanitarian assistance and protecting human rights.

Q: [Question in Portuguese on the role of South America and on Security Council reform]

SG: My observation through a visit to four South American countries is that South American countries can have a much stronger, bigger role in the United Nations and in multilateralism. At the same time, the United Nations also can have a much bigger role in this region, that is what I believe, in terms of promoting democratic institutions and human rights, in terms of promoting South-South cooperation, in terms of expanding their participation in world peace and security through peacekeeping operations. These are very positive aspects on which we can expect more from South American states.

On the second question, Security Council reform, this has been quite long overdue. Most recently, Member States of the United Nations have been accelerating their negotiation on how to expand, how to reform the Security Council. If you consider the dramatic and significant changes which have taken place during the last 65 years, the Security Council needs to be, should be, changed. Adapting to changing situations, that means the Security Council should be reformed in a more representative, a more credible and democratic way. The Member States have now begun the negotiation on a text-based negotiation and I sincerely hope that this has accelerated the pace of negotiation will continue so Member States will be able to find some mutually-agreed modality. I am fully aware of the aspiration of the Brazilian government to contribute more in strengthening the capacity. All this should be discussed among Member States.

Q: [Question in Portuguese on expanding the permanent membership of the Security Council]

SG: I think that this is a question on which I am not in a position to make any comment. Who is going to be elected as permanent members of the Security Council, that is up to the Member States to determine. First of all, there should be a decision by the Member States on how to change the Security Council, and as I said I am very much aware of the aspirations of the Brazilian government. There are some other countries also, as we mentioned. Therefore this is something the Member States should determine.

Q: [Question in Portuguese on a possible second term for the Secretary-General]

SG: As you know, I have expressed my intention, my humble intention, to serve this great Organization for another term, and I understand that this is now being considered by the members of the Security Council, including Brazil, and then it will be finally decided by the Member States. I expect that the members will give positive consideration for my humble desire to serve this great Organization, to work together with the Member States for the promotion of peace and security and development, as well of promotion of human rights. These are common goals and objectives which I have been working very closely with the Member States. Thank you very much.