Secretary-General's press encounter with EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso
Brussels, Belgium, 2 April 2014
I am pleased to be back in Brussels. I thank the hospitality and generosity the royal family, the Government and the people of Belgium, as well as the European Union.
I highly commend the leadership of President Barroso of the European Commission in dealing with many world affairs and working together with the United Nations. The European Union is a most reliable partner on which the United Nations depends and is proud of working with.
President Barroso and I just had a very constructive meeting covering regional conflict issues as well as development issues.
We are deeply concerned about the desperate plight of the people of the Central African Republic. As you know, I have presented recommendations to the Security Council to transform the African-led mission, MISCA, into a UN peacekeeping operation. But this will take time. Meanwhile, I have a plan to address immediate needs.
I thank the African Union and France for their important contributions. I also appreciate the European Union’s decision to deploy forces.
These steps are critical – but they are far from sufficient. The people of the Central African Republic are suffering grave, deplorable atrocities. I will do everything possible to improve the international response. At this afternoon’s high-level meeting on the Central African Republic, I will urge all countries to strongly consider providing badly needed additional troops and police, as well as financial support. We must act quickly to stop the killings, protect civilians and prevent a further separation of communities that had existed together for generations. We also need to get more aid through.
Ultimately, the people of the Central African Republic have to come together to build a new future. They can stabilize and develop their country – but they need our help.
President Barroso and I also reviewed developments in Mali, the broader Sahel, the Great Lakes region and other areas. We discussed global challenges, especially climate change. I fully support the visionary commitment of the European Union to reduce by 40% greenhouse gases by 2030. I hope the European Union will lead this campaign and agree on this vision at the forth coming June summit meeting so that they can come with a very ambitious target to the Climate Change summit meeting that I am going to convene on September 23 this year. We need the European Union’s leadership on this matter.
We also discussed how we can work together to advance the Millennium Development Goals. We have less that than two years, less than 640 days from today. We must to all we can. We must mobilize resources to meet these targets. It’s also important that member states should define the post-2015 development agenda to have sustainable development goals.
We also discussed the situation in Ukraine, as President Barroso has just explained at length. We fully support the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukrainian people. I continue to call on all parties to reduce tensions and resolve the crisis through diplomatic means.
I deeply appreciate the indispensable partnership between the United Nations and the European Union. The EU consistently funds humanitarian aid, defends human rights, advances sustainable development and promotes peace and security. I count on the EU to continue standing strong with the United Nations.
I look forward to this afternoon’s EU-Africa Summit. I am especially pleased that it will include not only government representatives but also other voices.
The United Nations is at the forefront of building global coalitions to forge shared solutions to our common problems.
Question (Spanish media) : On Central African Republic. What’s the troop force level that you think would be necessary on the ground. And how much more should the EU contribute? I understand that the mission of the EU will be deployed for a maximum of 6 months since it reaches its full operational capability. I understand that for now the idea is not to actually prolong an extra 6 months. I don’t know if President Barroso can also give us an idea if it could be possible if there is a will of the member states to extend it. And in the end, a rough idea of the force? I mean, we know it is a maximum of 1,000 but after the force generation process, with how much do we start as soon as possible on the ground. Thank you.
Secretary-General: In my report to the Security Council, I have recommended that at least, we need to have 10,000 military personnel, 1,800 police officers and 20 correctional officers. This is within 12,000 altogether. I hope the Security Council will approve my recommendation as soon as possible. My expectation is that the Security Council may take action early next week.
We have to transform the current MISCA and the Sangaris, French troops, into United Nations peacekeeping operations within 6 months. In the meantime, we must work harder to generate the necessary forces. And I really appreciate the decision of the European Union to deploy 1,000. So at the current, the current strength is that we have 6,000 African forces and 2,000 French Sangaris. And we need more to be able to cope with the current situation. The situation is dire, very dire. At the same time we need to provide humanitarian assistance. We need to help the Central African Republic to rebuild their institutions and I really appreciate several European countries like the Danish and the Finnish governments who have generously offered to provide additional financial support on their own national government level to help pay the [CAR] government officials’ salaries. And we also appreciate the 30 million dollars of the European Union to help this institutional building.
I thank you very much.
Off-the-Cuff on 2 April 2014