Secretary-General's Press Encounter Following Meeting with President Barack Obama of the United States of America
Washington, D.C. , 11 April 2013
Thank you very much, Mr. President. I really appreciate President [Barack] Obama for inviting me to the Oval Office and I really appreciate your global leadership to make this world more peaceful, more prosperous, and where all human rights are protected and respected.
The United Nations and United States share common goals – peace and security, human rights and development.
In that regard, I really appreciate such strong leadership and cooperation and support of the US Government and President Obama.
You and the American people care about the world – justice, freedom and opportunity for all.
I am very encouraged that the partnership between the United Nations and the United States is now [building a] very solid foundation and [growing] stronger, and I count on your continuing support on that.
As President Obama has just explained in detail now, I do not have much to add to all of the subjects, but if I may just say a few words from my own perspective as Secretary-General.
On Syria, this is a most troubling situation where all the leaders of the world should really take a much more strengthened leadership role. I have asked President Obama to demonstrate and exercise his stronger leadership in working together with key partners of the Security Council. As Secretary-General, I have been working very closely with Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi and I will continue to do that.
Unfortunately, this crisis has entered the third year. In the absence of a political solution, we have seen well over 70,000 people being killed. More than 50 per cent of schools, hospitals and infrastructure have been destroyed. More than 6 million people have been internally displaced and we have 1.3 million refugees around the neighbouring countries of Syria.
This continuing military trouble as well as intensified sectarian overtones make us really worried that unless we stop this violence, this whole Syrian society may be destroyed. We have been mobilizing all possible humanitarian assistance and I really appreciate President Obama and his Government’s very generous support of this humanitarian assistance.
On the chemical weapons investigation, it is regrettable that the Syrian Government has rejected my offer to engage in investigation. This is my authority in accordance with General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. I sincerely hope that the Syrian Government will allow [it] so that this investigation team will be able to conduct the investigation as requested by them and I have received a request from other Member States. That is why I have really assembled very experienced experts as a team. They are now ready. They can be deployed any time soon; so this is my urgent appeal.
On the situation in and around the Korean Peninsula, I am deeply concerned and we share grave concerns together [about] the continuing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. I urge the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] authorities to refrain from taking any further provocative measures and rhetoric. This is not helpful. And I really highly commended President Obama’s firm, principled, but measured response in close consultation with the Republic of Korea Government and with the strong engagement of neighbouring countries like China. We hope that all the countries, including China, who may have influence over North Korea, can exercise their leadership and influence so that this situation will be resolved peacefully. First and foremost, the tension level must come down. North Korea should not confront the international community as they are now doing. I hope that concerned parties – including the United States, China, the Republic of Korea and Russia and Japan – will continue to work together on this matter
On the Middle East, I really appreciate President Obama’s initiative [and] his visit to the region. We need to do all our efforts to fully utilize the momentum generated by President Obama’s visit so that the two-State solution can be successfully implemented as soon as possible.
On climate change, I intend to work very closely with the Member States so that a legally-binding global treaty can be achieved by the end of 2015. And for that [to be] possible, to facilitate this process, I intend to convene a leaders’ meeting sometime next year. I have invited President Obama, I invited him to play an important leadership role for humanity.
As far as United Nations reform is concerned, I will continue to make this Organization more effective, efficient, accountable and trustworthy.
I thank you very much for your leadership.