Stockholm, Sweden

12 October 2011

Secretary-General's press encounter following his meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt

Thank you very much Prime Minister [Fredrik] Reinfeldt for you kind hospitality. I know that today is a busy day but despite such a hectic schedule I am very glad to have had very constructive meeting with the Prime Minister.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

God eftermiddag.

It's great pleasure to be back in Stockholm. It has been a great honour and privilege to work with Prime Minister Reinfeldt who is a strong champion of the United Nations pillars of peace and security, development projects and human rights.

I hope that all Members States would do what the Swedish Government and people are doing in making this world better for all.

Before I begin I want to sincerely congratulate all of you for the European Cup qualification, for your very successful game. I wish you all the best.

As you know I am coming from Denmark and Norway, where I attended meetings on energy and sustainable development. I have discussed extensively on how we can work together to make sustainable development a reality, to make again this word more harmoniously developed and a prosperous one. Sweden is a leader on this front and I am pleased to wrap up my trip here in Sweden.

Since Tomas Tranströmer just won the Nobel Prize in Literature, let me say congratulations to him. Everyone is rushing to buy his books now. The United Nations is very proud that our agency, UNESCO, once published a number of his works in an anthology of Swedish poetry.

As the Prime Minister said we have discussed a number of important issues, including developments in the Middle East and Libya, our push to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and next year's Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

I took the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for Sweden's extraordinary contributions to the United Nations.

Sweden is one of our most generous donors, providing important resources and even more valuable ideas and leadership. I'm very proud to be working together with many distinguished Swedish nationals in the United Nations system,

Sweden makes up a fraction of one per cent of the global population, but Swedes account for more than five per cent of my high-level UN envoys and representatives. I am very proud and you should be very proud of them.

We also have Swedish staff in eight peacekeeping missions, from Liberia to Afghanistan; from South Sudan to Haiti.

I met earlier today with International Development Cooperation Minister Gunilla Carlsson. She is playing a critical role as a member of my High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, and I am very grateful for her contributions as we prepare for next year's Rio + 20 Conference.

I also came to Sweden for a more personal reason, as the Prime Minister mentioned: to visit the gravesite of Dag Hammarskjöld. He is a towering figure in history and one of my heroes.

I was very honoured by the presence of members of the Hammarskjöld family, together with the governor and mayor and many citizens this morning. And I was deeply moved that a number of Swedes who had served with the original United Nations operation in the Congo attended the ceremony.

Hammarskjöld's legacy of peacekeeping has brought greater stability to our troubled world.

There is no doubt that the presence of the United Nations has helped the Congo and its people over the years.

But we were reminded just two days ago that the risk to our peacekeepers is real and deadly. Just two days ago, three personnel serving with the United Nations Joint Mission in Darfur were killed by attackers. I strongly condemn this despicable act, which was all the more atrocious in that it was committed when the peacekeepers and police were on patrol.

At today's ceremony I reflected on all that Hammarskjöld did to shape the United Nations. I renewed my pledge to do my best in the office of Secretary-General that he did so much to define and defend.

Sweden is carrying on Hammarskjöld's great vision of multilateralism and human solidarity. I am deeply grateful for this support, and I look forward to working closely with Sweden in the years to come. Thank you very much.

Tusen tack.