Activities of Secretary-General in Bulgaria, 5-7 May

13 May 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in Bulgaria, 5-7 May

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Sofia on Thursday afternoon, 5 May, where his first meeting was with the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova.

The Secretary-General next met with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.  The Prime Minister and the Secretary-General discussed climate change, nuclear safety, disaster risk reduction and the fight against corruption.  They also took questions from the press afterwards.

The Secretary-General also delivered a lecture entitled “The World: The Next 20 Years” at Sofia University, in which he urged students to raise their sights and become global citizens, as well as proud Bulgarians.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13545)

He told them that, visiting Tunisia and Egypt recently, he saw the euphoria and the same sense of fresh possibility that Bulgaria experienced two decades ago.  These revolutions, he said, represent one of the greatest opportunities to advance human rights and democracy in a generation.

Mr. Ban also met that day with Tsetska Tsacheva, Chair of the National Assembly of Bulgaria, and Representatives of all Parliamentary Groups at the National Assembly.

On Thursday evening, the Secretary-General was hosted to dinner by Prime Minister Borissov.

The following morning, the Secretary-General started his day with a meeting with the United Nations Global Compact Network in Bulgaria, and then a meeting with United Nations staff in Bulgaria.

He then attended a military parade to commemorate the Day of Saint George the Victorious and the Day of the Bulgarian Army, before meeting with Georgi Parvanov, President of Bulgaria.

He addressed a major conference — The Sofia Platform — on the changes under way in the Middle East and North Africa.  He discussed what the countries of Central and Eastern Europe can contribute from their own transitional experiences.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13548)

He said that there were marked differences between Europe in 1989 and the Arab Spring of 2011, not least that some countries in the Middle East and North Africa were experiencing bloodshed and violence rather than a velvet revolution.  He warned that in some countries, rather than listening to their people’s legitimate aspirations for change, Governments are responding with force.

Following the lecture, Mr. Ban held talks with Nickolay Mladenov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.  He then visited the ancient city of Plovdiv and Sofia’s Boyana Church.

The Secretary-General was hosted to dinner that evening by Foreign Minister Mladenov.

The Secretary-General and his delegation departed Sofia for Istanbul, Turkey, early on Saturday morning, 7 May.

For information media. Not an official record.