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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's remarks announcing appointment of Secretary-General’s new Spokespeople - made at the start of today’s noon press briefing

New York, 19 February 2014

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to see you again.

You may be wondering why the four of us are standing here today like this.  The answer is simple: You know that when I visited Cuba, Havana, I had my hair cut. Now, we are thinking of having a barbershop quartet!

Joking aside, I have something to announce today in person.

As you know, Martin Nesirky has been working as my spokesperson for the last four years.

During that time he has travelled almost as many miles as I have.

He wakes up even much earlier than I do – much, much earlier – just to make sure that I am fully briefed on what has happened while we were sleeping. So I have really enjoyed and appreciated his providing me, early in the morning, with all the fresh news and developments of the situation around the world, so that I can be fully aware of what has happened so that I could be able to answer whenever I was approached by you.  It must have been quite difficult for him, but I have really benefited a lot from his hard work.

He has been at my side during an especially tumultuous period in world affairs.

Throughout that time he has been a model spokesperson of the United Nations: accessible, authoritative, cool under pressure, fast on his feet and quick with a joke.

He has appeared before you almost every day at noontime to take your slings and arrows.

The job is one in which few notice when you succeed.  The scrutiny has been always intense, the spotlight as bright as it gets. 

Martin Nesirky has showed his mettle day in and day out.  He has functioned at the top of the craft. 

Recently he informed me personally that because of his family issues, he wanted to have another position. I think that after four years he might have been also very tired, so it is a good time for him to be somewhere else. Now, I had hoped and anticipated that he would stay longer, but I should also respect his personal wishes and circumstances.

I am immensely grateful to Martin Nesirky for his hard work and for his stellar service, his sound advice and his friendship. 

Sometimes he addressed me straight – face to face – and advised me something which I always accepted and which turned out to be always correct. I really appreciate that.

He will be with us in New York until March 7th, and will soon thereafter take on a new assignment in the UN office in Vienna, Austria.

Now, for his successor, as you have already known since he is standing here, Stéphane Dujarric, who is known to you all already – since he was Spokesperson during the last time of my predecessor, and he also spent some time during my first year in the Executive Office as a Director in that office, and I really appreciate it. His most recent job is, as you know very well, Director of the News and Media Division in the Department of Public Information.  He will take up his new duties as of March 10th.

Then, Farhan Haq, has been working as Acting Deputy Spokesperson. Now, I am very pleased to appoint him formally, officially, as Deputy Spokesperson.  They will become a good team.

I thank all of my spokespersons for their commitment to me and to the United Nations Organization.

I thank all of you for your strong support and friendly advice and very harmonious working relationship with Martin Nesirky. I am sure, and I expect that the same will be given to Stéphane Dujarric and Farhan Haq in the future.

I thank you very much for your attention.