24 Jan. 2007

Joint point de presse

with NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

JAMES APPATHURAI (NATO Spokesman): Ladies and gentlemen, we have time for a few remarks. Secretary General.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (Secretary General of NATO): This is to say how happy and privileged we are, and I am, to receive the Secretary General of the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon here at NATO Headquarters. We had a brief informal meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the Secretary General. It goes without saying that we wholeheartedly congratulated him on his appointment.

He and I both concluded that, of course, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is now here in his capacity as United Nations Secretary General. He was here before in a previous incarnation. And the fact that he came is important why?

If you look around, if we look around, we look at Afghanistan, NATO's first priority and most important operation, the United Nations are in the lead, with the Afghan government, of course. And it is crucial that the UN and NATO and the European Union and other international organizations work very closely together.

If we look at Kosovo, where the UN envoy, President Ahtisaari, will soon present his proposals, the UN has an important role to play. KFOR is still there with more than 16,000 soldiers. KFOR will continue to play a role. The European Union will play a role. That is why it is so important and that is why we are so grateful that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon found the time to come to NATO Headquarters.

If you look at Darfur, where NATO is supporting, as you know, the African Union by ferrying in and out the AU forces, in and out of Darfur, the Secretary General has said that Africa is one of his priorities.

So you see, there is the need for a close relationship between the United Nations and NATO, and I can tell you that the atmosphere in the meeting, and the tone set by the Secretary General, was a very important one, was a very open one, so I'm absolutely certain and sure that not only Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and I myself, but also the United Nations and NATO will have a strong... stronger and fruitful coordination.

We need it because we work together and more and more you see NATO forces operating under a UN umbrella. In Afghanistan we're operating under the UN in Kosovo, under the UN in Darfur, certainly with the blessing of the United Nations. Every reason to enjoy the fact that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is here.

Congratulations, once again, Secretary General, and you might say a few words.

BAN KI-MOON (Secretary General, United Nations):  Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, it's a great pleasure to visit the NATO Headquarters for the second time personally, but this time as Secretary General of the United Nations.

I was here, as you may know, when I was serving as the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea. I was invited to address this NATO Council in December 2005. Even though I'm visiting NATO Headquarters unofficially this time because of my limited time, I'm very much assured and encouraged by what NATO has been contributing to the peace and prosperity and security around the world; in Afghanistan, in Kosovo, in Africa, with close coordination and under the mandate of the United Nations.

We discussed with the members of the Council, with the Secretary General Scheffer, how to increase the level of cooperation at the organizational level. In fact, in organizational level we have had the very good cooperation and assistance. We are working for common purpose and objectives. That is, peace and security and prosperity and protecting human rights around the world.

In that regard we have the same goals and I'm very much happy to visit this Headquarters and we are committed to work very closely together in the future.

Thank you.  

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Thank you very much.

BAN KI-MOON : Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.