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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's remarks at press encounter with H.E. Mr. Bronislaw Komorowski, President of Poland

Warsaw, Poland, 19 November 2013

Thank you, Your Excellency President Bronislaw Komorowski,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is always a great pleasure and honour to visit Poland.  I thank the President, the Government and the people of Poland for their generous hospitality and warm welcome to our delegation and strong support of the United Nations.

I would like to express my gratitude for Poland’s hosting of the UN Conference on Climate Change after another one, the previous one in Poznan in 2008.  We greatly appreciate Poland’s contribution to the multilateral process, including by hosting the conference, as I said in Poznan five years ago.

This year’s Conference of Parties of Climate Change is an important stepping stone on the road to an ambitious and effective global agreement on climate change in 2015.

I hope COP 19 will make good progress here in Warsaw on the elements that need to go into that agreement.

Climate change is the world’s biggest threat to our collective well-being.

At the same time, we have an opportunity -- to achieve our development goals, transform the global economy and limit the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius that we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

I have invited President Komorowski to the Climate Summit that I am hosting in New York September next year.  I hope Poland will send clear and positive signals on the benefits of a low-carbon economy and come to the Summit with bold announcements and actions.

President Komorowski and I also discussed a number of other challenges of common concern, including the Middle East peace process, the situation in Afghanistan, and also most importantly, the tragic situation in Syria.

I thanked the President for his strong support of the United Nations’ work for democracy across the world, including through the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy held just last month.

On Syria, I have been working very closely with the relevant Governments and other actors on the international conference that I plan to convene in Geneva to press for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.  Our target date for the conference is mid-December.

The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate rapidly and dramatically.  I repeat my call on the Government and all parties to ease the severe constraints they have imposed so that aid can get through to the millions in need.

Finally, I updated President Komorowski on the UN relief effort in the Philippines.  We continue to do everything we can to support people in need.  The huge scale of the typhoon is a reminder [and an] alarm bell of the serious consequences the world faces from a warming planet.

I will continue to count on strong Polish support this week on climate change and in the years ahead across the United Nations agenda.

I am grateful for President Komorowski’s leadership and commitment in working together with the United Nations in meeting the challenges, global challenges including climate change, development and peace and security around the world.

Thank you.


Off-the-Cuff on 19 November 2013