Secretary-General's press encounter with Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt (unofficial transcript)
Brussels, Belgium, 24 January 2007SG: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. Thank you very much for your kind welcome here in Belgium.
I have chosen Belgium as my first stop on my first foreign trip outside the United States after entering the office of the Secretary-General. I appreciate the Belgian Government's and the peoples´ contribution and active participation in all activities of the United Nations. We appreciate such contributions and I am quite confident that the Belgian Government will continue to participate actively in the UN and strengthen our partnership. We have discussed regional and global issues.
Thank you very much for comprehensively summarizing the contents of our discussions. As Secretary-General I am very much committed to devote my time and energy, to the common good of the international community, peace and prosperity, mutual development and common prosperity, and protection of human rights. I have deep admiration and respect for the Belgian Government and people for their continuous participation and contributions, particularly to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Belgian Government has been providing a political and financial contribution to this young democracy. We agreed that it is absolutely necessary that the international community continues support so that this young democratic country can stabilize its social, political and economic stability. This (inaudible) what people thirst for in many parts of the world (inaudible) a positive message to people in other parts of the world who are experiencing similar difficulties and similar paths towards democracy.
All in all we have agreed on the function of the United Nations, and the Belgian Government and we are on the same page, and I am very much encouraged that I have the full support of Belgium in my duties as Secretary-General and I look forward with (inaudible). Thank you very much.
Q: What role can a country like Belgium play in the Security Council?
SG: I congratulated the Prime Minister on the election of the Belgian Government to the seat of non-permanent membership of the Council. The Belgian Government has already been very active in only three weeks on the Security Council. The Belgian Government has now taken chairmanship of the sanctions committees on Iran, the Taliban and Côte d´Ivoire. I look forward very much to working together. I have talked many times to your Permanent Representative [Johan Verbeke] in New York and the Belgian Government has provided a very positive contribution.
Q: You will meet tomorrow with the Special Envoy on Kosovo [Martti Ahtisaari]. Can you tell us something about the contents of the proposals yet? Will Kosovo become an independent state?
SG: I want to have a meeting with my Special Representative, Mr. Ahtisaari tomorrow when we are in Paris, but I am not in a position to publicly disclose the contents of his report at this time, because his intention is to distribute this to the parties concerned to seek their views. I think the process of coordination is going on, so we will see the responses and how coordination will go in this matter.
Q: What about Iran, and the increase of US troops in Iraq?
SG: About the Iranian nuclear issue, this has very serious and negative implications to the region, and the Security Council has taken very important measures, sanction resolutions. I hope the Iranian Government will fully comply with the Security Council resolution and also engage in dialogue with the EU 3. In that regard I appreciate and commend the initiative taken by the European Union to address this issue through dialogue, through peaceful means.
On the Iraqi issues - first of all, I believe that it is important to have an inclusive political process to address all the issues. It is very unfortunate that we see many civilian casualties, and sectarian violence is continuing. We must try to help the Iraqi Government and people so that we can prevent any further civilian casualties and so that the international community also should help the Iraqi government and people, so that they can restore peace and stability, economically and politically. At the same time it would be very important for the international community to realize the urgency of establishing a sort of framework where neighbouring countries will participate. Overall, I think we need to have some comprehensive approach. The military can play also a very important role but we need some political process, as well as the international community´s continued support in this matter. Thank you very much.
Off-the-Cuff on 24 January 2007
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