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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's remarks to the media with the President of Montenegro

Cetinje, Montenegro, 22 July 2012

Dober dan.

It is a great pleasure for me to visit Montenegro as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

I thank the President, the Government and the people of Montenegro for their warm welcome and hospitality.

I arrived today, just a couple of hours ago, from Croatia as part of a visit to all parts of the former Yugoslavia.

I am delighted to be here, and I thank President Vujanovic, the Government and the people of Montenegro for their warm welcome and hospitality.

I arrived today from Croatia as part of a visit to all parts of the former Yugoslavia.

The region has suffered great trials and trauma – which we all know so well.

But the focus of my visit is not on the past – even though we must acknowledge it – but the future.

Montenegro’s future is full of promise.

The decision by the European Union Council to open accession negotiations illustrates Montenegro’s progress towards greater stability and prosperity in the six years since independence.

Montenegro has consistently demonstrated its commitment to good relations and mutual assistance with its neighbours.

The United Nations will remain your partner in addressing key priorities during the accession process, especially in our main areas of expertise -- human rights, durable solutions for refugees, and sustainable development.

We will continue to support Montenegro to build an inclusive society, based on accountable and transparent democratic institutions, and the rule of law.

We commend the continued efforts of the Government of Montenegro and their citizens

alike to ensure that all populations displaced by the recent conflicts can live in dignity and security.

 

We will also continue to support the Montenegrin Government’s work to assist the most vulnerable -- women, the rural poor, people with disabilities -- especially children -- the Roma, and children deprived of parental care.

 

Thank you. I will be happy to answer some of your questions.

 

Q: Your Excellency. Agency France Presse. The US has just said they will seek an opportunity to find a solution to the Syria crisis outside of the UN decision-making. What is your comment?

 

SG: I read that report myself but I am not in a position to make any comments on the positions announced by the US Government. But what is important at this time is that all the international community must be united in pressuring both the Government and opposition forces to stop fighting. Almost 17,000 people have been killed during the last 17 months. This is not acceptable. Totally not acceptable. We cannot go on like this. First, stop the fighting, and help the Syrian people to immediately begin a political dialogue for a political resolution of this crisis reflecting the genuine aspirations and needs of the Syrian people. In the meantime, the UN, myself and Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the Arab League will continue to work until our mandate is accomplished.