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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's Joint Press Conference with H.E. Mr. Michel Roger, Minister of State and Chief of Government of the Principality of Monaco

Monaco, 4 April 2013

Bonjour,

Thank you very much for this opportunity and hospitality and warm welcome.

I have had an excellent visit, and I thank the Government and people of Monaco for their warm hospitality and welcome.  I am very much impressed.

I am honoured to be the first United Nations Secretary-General to pay an official visit to this Principality.

I extend my warmest congratulations to the Government of Monaco and people on the 20 years of active and effective membership of the United Nations.

I come to Monaco having visited, in the last few days, San Marino and Andorra. All three are among the smallest United Nations Member States.

But my conviction has been strengthened that small countries can have big ideas and a large role to play in international affairs.

Indeed they must.  Small States number more than half the membership of the United Nations.

They are often hardest hit by economic shocks and the effects of climate change.

Therefore their voices must be heard, individually and collectively, for example through the Forum of Small States.

They can fulfill an important bridge building role on mediation and in addressing issues of international concerns.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My meetings with His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, His Excellency Prime Minister Michel Roger and Foreign Minister [José] Badia, and then also [members of] the Princely Government covered a range of issues where Monaco is playing a leading role, including women and children’s rights, education and culture, and sustainable development.

We also discussed the crises in Syria and Mali.

We also discussed sustainable development and how we can work together to accelerate the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.  I have been impressed to see the efforts being made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability – both here and abroad through activities supported by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. 

Sustainable development is a global priority.  Yesterday I asked Prince Albert to help to raise political will among the leaders towards defining sustainable development goals and reaching a globally binding agreement on climate change by the end of 2015.  I am also grateful for Monaco’s support for the UN’s humanitarian efforts, particularly in Haiti, Syria, and Mali.

In my meeting with the Prince, I also thanked him and Princess Charlene for their commitment to using the power of sports for development and peace, and the work of Princess Charlene on behalf of children with autism.

I also commended the work being done by Her Royal Highness Princess Caroline of Hanover as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and UNICEF Children’s Champion, and the contribution made by Her Serene Highness Princess Stephanie of Monaco as an important UNAIDS ambassador, just as introduced by Prime Minister.

Finally, Monaco is one of the first signatories of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court.  I encouraged Monaco to join the other 43 European countries and ratify the Rome Statue as soon as possible.  I am encouraged that the Prime Minister and his Government is now very actively considering, positively, on this matter.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In closing, let me say that Monaco may be the smallest United Nations Member State but – to use a metaphor from the Olympic sport of boxing – it punches well above the weight.

Je vous remercie, and thank you very much.

Q: On North Korea, there are new threats from the United States, South Korean workers are not allowed to get to North Korea, do you think this is going to escalate and what do you think on the French and German proposition to ask China to have an influence on the situation?
A: First of all I’m deeply concerned and troubled by the rising tension on the Korean Peninsula, mainly caused by the very negative inflammatory rhetoric coming from the DPRK, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I have been urging repeatedly that nuclear threat is not a game and they should fully abide by the relevant Security Council resolutions.  The Security Council has taken, until now, three sanction measures against DPRK because of their nuclear weapons testing and launching of long-range missiles.  They should have completely and sincerely implemented those resolutions and also abide by the relevant provisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency, implementing fully the safeguards agreement.
Now by this particular measure, most recent measure to disrupt the free movement into and out of the Kaesong industrial complex, this is a very good example how both South and North Koreans can cooperate through business cooperation.  This has been working very well to the mutual benefit of both South and North Koreans.
I am very much disappointed and concerned about this recent measure to restrict the movement of personnel as well as goods into and out of the Kaesong industrial complex. I sincerely hope that this measure will be lifted as soon as possible, so that despite these current political and security concerns and conditions, they can expand this cooperative relationship, and I sincerely hope that this will be the case, and I urge again DPRK authorities to refrain from taking any further negative rhetoric which only raises the tension level on the Korean Peninsula.
At this time, I think all the parties concerned in the Korean Peninsula and particularly the members the Six Party, any particular Chinese government, they can play a very important role to first calm down the situation.
I have also repeatedly stated my willingness as Secretary-General of the United Nations to play a facilitating such role when it is necessary. 
Thank you very much. 

Q: [inaudible]

SG: I am deeply grateful to Prince Albert II for his strong commitment and global leadership and vision to preserve this planet earth, particularly our oceans as environmentally sustainable. Yesterday, I visited the Aquarium which was established by Prince Rainier III. His family has had far reaching vision, even 100 years ago. This was the oldest aquarium to preserve our marine ecosystems in a sustainable way. It was quite impressive. I hope this will give us a good message.

Last year, during the Rio+20 Summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro, I participated in a very moving event organized by Prince Albert on marine and ocean environment. That was quite a successful one.  As far as the United Nations is concerned in August last year the whole United Nations system has launched an ocean compact which has laid out good foundations and priorities on how we can keep this ocean environmentally sustainable and clean, preserving biodiversity and strengthening the resilience of our marine systems.

I really appreciate his role and vision and I hope such contribution will continue in the future to preserve this planet earth, environmentally sustainable and hospitable.  Thank you.

Q: Est ce que vous comprenez la position de l’opinion publique en Europe, dans le monde, qui se dit que peut-être les Nations Unies aujourd’hui sont devenues impuissantes face aux conflits qui se multiplient dans telle ou telle région ? On parle beaucoup moins de maintien de la paix, les casques bleus sont moins présents sur le terrain des conflits. Je pense à la Syrie. Les résolutions du Conseil de sécurité ne sont pas appliquées. Les Nations Unies sont-elles impuissantes sur ce point aujourd’hui, sur le point géostratégique ?

SG: While addressing many challenges and crises around the world, I believe that since the founding of the United Nations, the United Nations has been contributing greatly in preserving peace and stability. There is maybe some weakness in our systems, or some ineffectiveness, inefficiencies in our systems, but it is the United Nations which has been making great contribution to preserve peace and security.

On the situation in Syria and elsewhere which we are experiencing without being able to make clear and very concrete action to help people as well as to preserve peace, it is because of the division the international community. The Security Council is divided. The Arab region is divided. And more importantly, the Syrian people are divided. Because of these divisions of positions we have not been able to bring a resolution to this issue.  In the absence of a political solution the United Nations has been mobilizing full resources and power to support the people in need, the internally displaced people and also refugees who have fled their country.  That is why I have been urging the Member States to provide very generous humanitarian assistance.

To your very specific question, I would like to repeat again that even with some inefficiencies there may be, the United Nations has the mandate and responsibility to address all these issues, but we need the strong support of Member States and people of the world.  Thank you very much.


Off-the-Cuff on 4 April 2013