of the Secretary-General
(18 September 2007)
The Secretary-General: (…)
In addition to the general debate there will be a number of very
important side events or international conferences, for example, a high
level meeting on Climate Change, Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the
Middle East peace process, known as the Quartet process, and also
Regarding Darfur, I am going to chair, together with African Union
Chairperson [Alpha Oumar] Konaré, this high level meeting. I hope that
we will be able to map our strategy and road map for the forthcoming
political negotiations scheduled in Libya on October 27th. This will
mark just one more step forward and we will need to redouble our efforts
so as not to lose the positive momentum which we have been able to
Question: Mr. Secretary-General, you have several meetings coming
up. You talked a little bit about your expectations about the meeting on
Friday on Sudan. Could you…
The Secretary-General: Friday, yes.
Question: Friday, on Darfur. You expressed concern yesterday about
recent fighting. How concerned are you that that could sabotage the
outcome of the conference next month? And could you also just briefly
give us your expectations for the meetings on Iraq and Afghanistan,
which you didn’t mention?
The Secretary-General: When I met with President [Omar al-]Bashir
in Sudan, I urged him that, as we have come to this agreement or
understandings – a very difficult way, a long way – Sudan’s Government
should make utmost efforts to manage this path with utmost care. This
process has been and will be very fragile. The whole international
community must nurture this process. For that, he must commit to this
cessation of hostilities and protect all humanitarian workers – and
humanitarian assistance should be flowing without any hindrance – and
protect and respect human rights. These are what I have emphasized. I
was very much concerned about all this recurrence of violence.
Now, through the high-level meetings on Friday, we would like to,
first of all, engage in mapping out a strategy and road map for this
forthcoming political negotiation, how to expedite deployment of a
hybrid operation, how to discuss about the ways to make this political
negotiation a successful one and talk about developmental issues. Those
are what we aim to achieve at the end of this meeting. Of course, an
important part of the political negotiation will have to be dealt with
during the Libya meeting.
Question: Mr. Secretary-General, I have a question about the Sudan
and the ICC. How did President Bashir respond when you asked him to hand
over the suspects to the ICC, and what do you think the consequences
should be if he continues not to comply?
The Secretary-General: I raised this issue with President Bashir more
than once in a private conversation. As my meeting was done in private
conversation, I should prefer not to disclose all the details of my
discussions. But you should know that I am fully committed to justice
and peace. I will continue to raise and discuss this matter.
The Secretary-General: But as this issue was discussed in overall
discussions on peace and security and justice, I believe that justice is
a part of the peace process and justice and peace should go hand in
hand. But for a certain period, certain occasions, there are certain
issues which need to be kept confidential for the purpose of promoting
and making progress on those issues. But as far as I am concerned as the
Secretary-General, you have my full commitment on these issues.
Question: A question on DRC. The Great Lakes nations met in Kampala
and have called on MONUC [United Nations Organization Mission in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo] to play a greater role in fighting the
armed groups in eastern DRC. Would you favour such a role, a more
prominent role, for MONUC in the region, and would you be prepared to
recommend this to the Security Council?
The Secretary-General: In fact, MONUC has been playing a very
important role in stabilizing the situation between DRC forces and
forces loyal to [Laurent] Nkunda. This role, I hope, will continue. At
the same time, I have been urging President [Joseph] Kabila to exercise
maximum restraint in dealing with these issues. The DRC has been very
successful in going through very difficult issues. Now, I am concerned
about all this recurrence and continuing skirmishes between the two,
Government forces and forces loyal to Nkunda. I am going to have a
meeting with President Kabila during the General Assembly session. We
will discuss this matter more in depth.
Question: Did you receive a letter from the foreign ministers of the
Great Lakes region? I mean, where they ask you specifically –
The Secretary-General: Yes, I know that the foreign ministers in the
Great Lakes had discussed this matter, and I am in close contact with
Question: Mr. Secretary-General, since, as you just reminded us,
you have established direct communication with President Bashir of
Sudan: the alarm you expressed yesterday about episodes of violence in
Darfur, have you communicated that directly to him? Have you received
any assurances from the Sudanese Government that it will not happen
again? And finally, also on Darfur: the meeting on Friday, will there be
anybody there representing the rebel groups or any rebel group?
The Secretary-General: First of all, this meeting is not with the
rebel groups. They will be invited to a political negotiation, which
will be held on 27 October. This meeting is an enlarged contact group
high-level meeting on Darfur. On the first part of your question, I have
not directly spoken with President Bashir at this time on this issue,
but I hope that he has heard my statement and my concern clearly.
Question: Mr. Secretary-General, you mentioned that institutional
reform is one of your top priorities. For this session, how urgent is
the expansion or change of the Security Council reforms to you?
The Secretary-General: Security Council reform is the most important
part of the institutional reform of the United Nations. We have in fact
made good progress in institutional reforms, like the Peacebuilding
Commission or Human Rights Council. All these are very important
progress. Now, I understand that Member States have been actively
discussing this matter recently. I sincerely hope again that Member
States will dwell on this issue more in depth. And, as the
Secretary-General, I will spare no effort to facilitate such
consultations among Member States to enable the Security Council reform.
If I may speak as a matter of principle, considering the tremendous,
dramatic changes in the international political scene during the last 60
years, it is necessary that the Security Council should be reformed and
expanded in a manner which will be acceptable to the Member States.
Question: On Sudan: your peace negotiations, what is the strategy for
them? Do you want a ceasefire first, or are you going to do the entire
bundle? Because the entire bundle could take years, or be done quickly
and fall apart like the DPA [Darfur Peace Agreement]. Meanwhile, you
will need more and more peacekeepers to just try to save lives.
The Secretary-General: This is, again, a very broad question which
may require me a long time. But I have just three action plans, as you
might have already known.
This is peace and security through deployment of a hybrid
operation. It is going on well, even though there are still many pending
issues that will have to be ironed out.
And most importantly, political negotiations – this has to be
Then, as we see the progress in political dialogue, we will have
to discuss all these development packages. I was so struck, after having
visited Darfur and Juba – the plight and the suffering that they are
undergoing. So the international community should give some signs of
hope and promise to those people as we make progress in the political
process. And in that, the cessation of hostilities will provide a very