29 October 2015

Celebrating Sixtieth Anniversary of Spain’s Entry into United Nations, Secretary-General Heralds Country’s Leadership on Global Stage

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the ceremony marking the sixtieth anniversary of the entry of Spain into the United Nations, in Madrid, today:

Tengo el honor de sumarme a usted para celebrar el sexagésimo aniversario de la entrada de España en las Naciones Unidas.

Me gustaría felicitar al pueblo y al Gobierno de España y dedicar esta ceremonia a los miles de españoles que han trabajado para las Naciones Unidas a lo largo de los años, y en particular, a quienes perdieron la vida al servicio de la paz.  Honramos su memoria.

Spain is a true crossroads of civilization, where different faiths have lived side by side for centuries.  This country has sent explorers out into this world and welcomed travellers onto its territory.

The Spanish spirit of international engagement won out over war and dictatorship when Spain joined the United Nations sixty years ago.  Even before that milestone, a number of Spaniards served in our ranks.  At first, they did not have Spanish passports, but eventually they regained their citizenship.

Today, Spain sends many top officials to the United Nations, including my outgoing Special Representative for Libya, Mr. Bernardino León, and the head of our UN-Habitat agency [United Nations Human Settlements Programme], Joan Clos, and my Under-Secretary-General for Public Information, Cristina Gallach, who joins us today.

I thank His Majesty Don Felipe and Her Majesty Doña Letizia — a United Nations Special Ambassador on Nutrition — for advancing sustainable development, human rights and cross-cultural understanding.

In the spirit of solidarity, Spain made historic contributions to reaching the Millennium Development Goals and helped develop the new Sustainable Development Goals.  In a show of engagement, Spain hosts United Nations entities in Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona and here in Madrid.

In a leading role, Spain is serving now as President of the United Nations Security Council.  I thank Prime Minister Rajoy for chairing the session earlier this month on women, peace and security.  I was especially moved when he said that in conflicts, it is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier.

Spain — home to many faiths and cultures — helped establish the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.  And Spain has worked to address the causes of terrorism and violent extremism.  I highly again commend Madrid for hosting high-level meetings in July on stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  Let’s unite our forces.  I applaud Spain for six decades of principled leadership.  And I look to Spain, united in its diversity, to do even more on the global stage in the future.

Five days ago, on 24 October, the world marked the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations by lighting landmark buildings blue.  This light spread across Spain.  From the City Hall in Madrid to the aqueduct in Segovia, from Gaudis’s landmarks in Barcelona to Toledo to Granada to Murcia and beyond, Spain was glowing blue.  On the same day, I joined Spain’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Román Oyarzun, along with the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and many New York City officials and citizens at the unveiling of “Enlightened Universe” by the world-renowned Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón.

These activities represented more than support for the United Nations.  They showed rich culture of Spain at its best — illuminated for a global cause for peace.  Let us strengthen the bonds between Spain and the United Nations so that this proud country can lead even more on the global stage and help usher in a better future.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.