Secretary-General's press encounter following his meeting with President Rakhmonov (unofficial transcript)
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 21 October 2002Q (Tajik TV Company): Please tell us what the main questions discussed in your meeting with President Emomali Rakhmonov were.
SG: We did discuss issues of the fight against terrorism; the question of economic and social development, alleviation of poverty, the need to strengthen institutions and good governance; we reviewed developments in Afghanistan, and had the chance also to explore possibilities for regional cooperation in areas like water management and electricity and facilitation of cross-border movements. Aren't these enough topics for one afternoon? I will take your questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary General, President Rakhmonov is calling for a strengthening of the role of the UN in the international arena; at the same time, there are discussions about a reform of the UN. Could you please tell us how these reforms may affect Central Asia? Are there any plans for new programs, new structures within the UN?
SG: First of all, we do value our cooperation with your Government, and in fact the President and I with my representatives here, the Resident Coordinator of the UN and my political Representative, discussed this issue thoroughly. And I think the people of Tajikistan know the UN involvement here, which goes back over a decade. We are introducing reforms and changes at the UN, but the changes are intended to make our activities on the ground more effective and to focus on economic and social issues.
I don't know if you've seen the publication “We the Peoples”, which describes the problems facing the world and the Millennium Declaration, the Declaration which was made by 160 Heads of State and Government indicating what steps we need to do to improve the economic and social conditions of people around the world.
That action has to take place at the country level, in countries like yours, not in New York, and all our efforts are directed towards that.
So to answer your question, the UN is reorganizing itself to be able to work directly with the Governments. And in fact my representatives here have been very active with your Government in drawing up the necessary plans.
But if I may offer a word of advice here, the issue of economic and social development or nation building should not be an issue for a government alone. Everyone has a role – the private sector, NGOs, individuals, universities, we all have to work together in partnership and form an alliance to make it happen. The international community can help and must help, but the greater effort has to be done at the country level, by the Government and the people like you. Spasibo.
Q: Is your organization planning any moves regarding the crisis surrounding North Korea's nuclear programme and what do you think is the plan of action, what should be done?
SG: Well, I am following it very closely and I know there are discussions in many capitals also on this issue and of course the revelation came suddenly and we are all studying it and the Governments are in discussions to see what should be done next.
Off-the-Cuff on 21 October 2002