Ohrid, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

25 July 2012

Secretary-General's remarks to media with Gjorge Ivanov, President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (scroll down for Q and A)

Dobro utro. [Good morning]

It is a great pleasure to be here in this beautiful centre. I only wish I could stay longer but my schedule in Skopje and other places [is causing] me to leave but I would really like to thank you for your personal, very thoughtful support and hospitality, which made my visit in Orhid very relaxing, very comfortable, and our meeting this morning was very constructive.

President Ivanov and I have discussed a range of issues, as President Ivanov has just explain to you, relating to the country, the region and the world.

We spoke about this name issue. I emphasized my commitment to facilitating a prompt resolution.

And my Personal [Envoy], Mr. Matthew Nimetz, will also brief the Greek Government authorities about what we have discussed and he will engage more seriously and deeply to help facilitate the resolution of this issue as soon as possible.

We discussed tensions in Kosovo, and my visit there yesterday.  We agreed that it is essential that the sensitive and complex issues causing these tensions be resolved through peaceful dialogue.

We also discussed sustainable development, and the successful outcome of last month’s Rio+20 conference.

I commended President Ivanov and his Government’s contribution to Rio+20 and to its commitment here to clean energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency and their national action plan on sustainable development.

I encouraged the President to use the country’s Chairmanship next year of the South East European Co-operation Process to be a champion for sustainable development.

And I also commended their initiative and participation in the UN Alliance of Civilizations to promote further understanding and respect among different religions and understandings and traditions.

We also discussed the work of the United Nations Country Team here in helping the country meet the challenges of multi-ethnic issues and development issues to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Government has made significant steps in defining national policies that recognize the country’s diversity.  However, we are concerned about signs of growing tensions between communities.

I encourage the Government to further intensify its efforts to implement the letter and spirit of the Ohrid Framework Agreement signed eleven years ago.

The United Nations will continue to assist in every way it can on this and all other matters related to the country’s peaceful and sustainable development.

And I count on the leadership and commitment of President Ivanov.

And I thank you. Blagodaram. I will be happy to take your questions.

Q: Can we expect that the United Nations, as the body in charge of the International Court of Justice, regarding the implementation of its judgment?

SG: As I said to the President and to you this morning, we will do our best to discuss [this] with the Greek authorities. First of all, [as] a way of [increasing] transparency in facilitating this dialogue, I will dispatch my Personal Envoy, Matthew Nimetz, immediately after my visit is over, to Greece to explain what we have discussed and I will try to engage with Prime Minister Samaras to help expedite this process.

I feel it regrettable that two neighbouring countries, over this name issue, have not been able to fully expand your potential for regional cooperation, reconciliation, and development and peace. I sincerely hope that the leaders will continue to engage and the United Nations will so whatever necessary we can to facilitate this process. This has been a long-standing issue. I'm also aware of the ICJ judgment and we will all take into consideration all the issues. Thank you.

Q: [in Macedonian]

SG: To your questions, I have highly commended President Ivanov for his leadership, for contributing to regional peace and security and reconciliation, and for the great contribution to the United Nations' work, working together with the United Nations Charter for peace, security, development and human rights. They have taken good initiatives within this region, within the European region, and I further encouraged President Ivanov to continue such initiatives. We are grateful that we have been working very closely in peacekeeping operations and human rights areas and also peace and security issues.

And as we are going to celebrate the 20th anniversary soon, in a few months, this is a highly commendable contribution and I really appreciate that this is what, [as a] Member States of the United Nations, [it] should continue to do. Thank you. Thank you very much.