Activities of Secretary-General in Portugal, 20-21 November

1 December 2010

Activities of Secretary-General in Portugal, 20-21 November

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Lisbon from New York early on Saturday morning, 20 November.

On arrival, the Secretary-General went to Feria Internacional de Lisboa where he attended the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit meeting on Afghanistan.

In remarks, the Secretary-General said that the United Nations supports the Afghan Government’s search for peace through a political solution.  “We all recognize that there can be no purely military solution,” he said.  “This process must be Afghan-led, and it must respect the Constitution and the rights of all Afghans.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/13265)

That morning, Secretary-General Ban also held bilateral talks with the newly appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, Michèle Alliot-Marie.  They discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including the situations in Afghanistan, Côte d´Ivoire and Haiti.  With regard to Côte d’Ivoire, they agreed on the importance of the second round of presidential elections and stressed the need to remain vigilant.

The Secretary-General then held bilateral discussions with Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan.  They discussed the developments in Afghanistan and the United Nations efforts there.  On the parliamentary elections held in September, they both expressed a hope for results to be certified soon.  In this connection, the Secretary-General commended the excellent work by the Independent Electoral Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission.  They also underscored the importance of good governance.  The Secretary-General stressed the United Nations commitment to leading by example in terms of best aid practices.

The Secretary-General then attended a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and President Karzai.

In opening remarks, the Secretary-General said: “The United Nations will continue to work closely with the Government and people of Afghanistan, with ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] and with other partners.  We all share the same goals: stability, reconciliation, good governance, respect for human rights and harmonious relations between Afghanistan and its neighbours.”

The Secretary-General then held a working lunch with Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union.  They discussed a range of issues, including the developments in Afghanistan and Myanmar, as well as the upcoming referendum in Sudan and the anti-piracy efforts in Somalia.

Later, the Secretary-General travelled to Palacio de Belem where he paid a courtesy call on Aníbal António Cavaco Silva, President of Portugal.

Following his meeting with the President, the Secretary-General told reporters that, starting next January, there would be very important issues of referendums in Sudan and that “this is one area we expect to work very closely with the Portuguese, as a member of the Security Council”.

The Secretary-General also met with the José Socrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, Prime Minister of Portugal.   He congratulated the Prime Minister on Portugal’s election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, and also expressed appreciation for Portugal’s contributions to issues such as Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau and Timor-Leste.

Secretary-General Ban then returned to Feria Internacional de Lisboa where he addressed the 2010 Young Atlanticist Summit.  He told hundreds of young adults that it was his wish that they become global leaders in the not-too-distant future.  He said it is possible that they would soon be on the international scene as relief workers, humanitarian workers, politicians, non-governmental organizations, human rights advocates or as development experts, because they understood the value of public service, and no matter what direction their future took, they can be part of the work of the United Nations.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13272)

This was followed by a meeting with NATO Secretary General Rasmussen.  Their discussions focused on Afghanistan and Cyprus.  On Afghanistan, they both agreed on the importance of the transition plan as a clear road map.  In this regard, Secretary-General Ban stressed the need to be realistic in implementing it and to place an emphasis on developing Afghan institutions.

The Secretary-General then attended a dinner hosted by Jorge Sampaio, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations.

On Sunday, 21 November, the Secretary-General visited St. George’s Castle and also enjoyed the scenic view from the park.

Later, the Secretary-General departed Lisbon for New York, arriving that afternoon.

For information media. Not an official record.