United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek travelled to Madrid to participate in the commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of Spain’s membership in the United Nations.
Upon arrival on 28 October, the Secretary-General met with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey and expressed appreciation for Spain’s support for the United Nations, including for peacekeeping operations as well as its conflict prevention and mediation efforts.
The Secretary-General also met the Mayor of the City of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, who offered to establish a United Nations House to host the Organization’s entities in Spain. He encouraged the Mayor to join the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance at the Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) in December 2015.
That afternoon, the Secretary-General received a Medal of Honour at the Carlos III University of Madrid. Addressing students, he said that he looked to the youth across Spain to help usher in a new future for the country and the world. (See Press Release SG/SM/17276.)
The Secretary-General delivered remarks at the closing session of the “Madrid+10: Global Dialogue on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism”. Speaking to members of Club de Madrid and other high-level officials, he said that conflict prevention is one of the best tools for preventing violent extremism. (See Press Release SG/SM/17277.)
On 29 October, the Secretary-General visited the Welcome and Integration Centre for Refugees in Alcobendas, Madrid.
He then met with King Felipe VI at the Royal Palace, where the sixtieth anniversary commemorative event took place. Speaking to Spanish authorities and international delegates, the Secretary-General commended six decades of Spain’s commitment to the United Nations and called on the country to do even more on the global stage in the future. (See Press Release SG/SM/17278.)
The Secretary-General held a meeting with Foreign Minister José Manuel García Margallo, following which he held a press encounter with Mr. García Margallo. Responding to a question on the Vienna talks on Syria, which started on 30 October, the Secretary-General stressed that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria and urged the participants to help restart the political process between the Syrian parties.
Later in the day, the Secretary-General met with the Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejon. He also spoke at a United Nations Global Compact Meeting at the Caixa Fórum.
“As we embark on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, it will be essential to strengthen and broaden the relationships that have been built with business through the UN Global Compact,” he said, speaking to members of the private sector. (See Press Release SG/SM/17280.)
The Secretary-General and Madam Ban departed Spain for Geneva, Switzerland, the following day.