Skip to comments.Ban Ki-moon lays out U.N. agenda
Posted on 12/15/2006 7:17:07 PM PST by NormsRevenge
UNITED NATIONS - South Korea's Ban Ki-moon laid out an ambitious agenda as the next U.N. secretary-general, promising to become personally engaged in efforts to bring peace to the Mideast and Darfur and to clean up the world body.
The 62-year-old career diplomat, who was sworn in Thursday to a five-year term that begins Jan. 1, also said he plans "concerted action" to achieve U.N. development goals that include cutting extreme poverty by half and universal education by 2015.
Calling himself "a harmonizer and a bridge-builder," Ban said he also wants to repair relations between the U.N.'s rich and poor member states who fought bitterly over parts of the reform program proposed by his predecessor, Kofi Annan, who is stepping down after 10 years,
"You could say that I'm a man on a mission, and my mission could be dubbed Operation Restore Trust trust in the organization and trust between member states and the Secretariat," he said.
"I hope this mission is not mission impossible," he told reporters who burst into laughter.
Ban also showed his sense of humor at the start of his news conference after the swearing-in ceremony, noting that the media in South Korea dubbed him "the slippery eel because I was too charming for them to be able to catch me." He said the nickname was given to him "because I was very friendly with the media ... but I promise today that I can be a pretty straight shooter when I need to."
In his sharpest comments, Ban said Iran's call for Israel's destruction and its dismissal of the Nazi Holocaust were "unacceptable" and he called on all countries to respect "both in rhetoric and practice" that it is not acceptable to call for the elimination of any state or people.
Ban also expressed concern about the regional and global implications of Tehran's nuclear program and urged the Iranian government to engage in negotiations with the six parties that offered a package of incentives if it suspends uranium enrichment.
As South Korea's foreign minister, Ban was deeply involved in the six-nation effort to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. He said he will be watching the talks, which resume Monday in Beijing, and thinking about initiatives he can take as secretary-general.
Ban also said he planned to become "directly engaged" in efforts to bring peace to Sudan's Darfur region, adding his first trip may be to an African Union summit in late January. The AU provides the peacekeeping force in Darfur which has been unable to quell nearly four years of violence that has left more than 200,000 people dead and created a massive humanitarian crisis.
"The suffering of the people of Darfur is simply unacceptable, and despite intensive efforts, the security situation appears to be deteriorating over recent days," he said.
Ban singled out Middle East peace as a priority and said he will try "to energize" an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan drafted by the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the U.S. He also expressed concern about the deteriorating situations in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as conflicts in Africa.
Ban will be the first Asian to lead the United Nations in 35 years. His selection is also a milestone for South Korea, which only joined the United Nations in 1991 and still has U.N. troops on the tense border with North Korea.
Ban defeated six other candidates vying to be the U.N. chief and was first selected by the Security Council and then approved by the General Assembly in October.
On Thursday, he said he would prefer a woman for deputy secretary-general and was looking at several names, which he did not disclose.
Ban will oversee an organization with some 92,000 peacekeepers around the world and a $5 billion annual budget. The U.N.'s reputation has been battered by scandals in the $64 million Iraq oil-for-food program and in peacekeeping procurement. Its outdated practices need reform to tackle this century's problems.
In a brief address after being sworn in, Ban pledged "to set the highest ethical standard" and work to restore trust in the organization.
"The good name of the United Nations is one of its most valuable assets but also one of its most vulnerable," Ban said.
Ban distanced himself from Annan's farewell address on Monday in which the secretary-general criticized the Bush administration's global leadership. Annan called on America not to sacrifice its democratic ideals while waging war and to work with other countries.
"That I think, was his own personal assessment and insight, which he gained during his tenure," Ban said.
He stressed that the U.S. was an important U.N. member and said he would personally work to resolve differences of opinion between Washington and the world body and ensure constructive U.S. participation in all U.N. activities.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a news conference at the U.N. in New York, December 14, 2006. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
.. the media in South Korea dubbed him "the slippery eel because I was too charming for them to be able to catch me."
He wants to cut universal education in half by 2015? I'm OK with that.
President Clintons first act after being sworn in Jan. 20, 1993, was issuing an executive order establishing what he characterized as the most ethical administration in American history.
The UN denizens have been poking fun at Ban Ki-moon because he doesn't speak French so good.
Everybody knows the real business of the world is conducted in English. But what goes on at the UN is not real business anyway.
anyone have more info in thie guy. He looks like he is leaps and bounds better than the kofi-kujo dynamic duo. I dont like the korean sunshine policy in n korea, but hes from an allied country with the 3rd biggest troop deployment in iraq.
"On August, 2004, the South Korean government dispatched 3,400 soldiers to Iraq following American requests for reinforcements and further fueled by the beheading of South Korean citizen Kim Sun-il by Islamic extremists in Iraq. This force became third in size (surpassed only by the US and UK), after the withdrawal of Spanish forces. South Korea is currently responsible for peace-keeping and reconstruction in the Arbil Governorate, located in the Kurdish Autonomous Region. The peace-keeping troops were named Zaytun Division and Daiman Unit. Zaytun and Daiman respectively mean olive (a symbol of peace) and 'always with you' in Arabic."
I wish him luck-he's gonna need it...
He has a big mess to clean up. I wish him luck, he is going to need it....
Now, I will just wish his estate does not quadruple during his term.
Here's hoping he doesn't have as many kids as Harry Reid.. (/sarc)
as i wrote in another post, the koreans are only behind the brits with 3400 soldiers serving in iraq right now. This guy is part of a government that sent them there.
Sharpest comments...ooooh! Wait till he writes up the feared "strongly worded reprimand".
Well, it's an ambitious agenda... but they best not be looking at US to foot the bill. The UN's been little help and deserves less from the States.
If the man had a single ounce of integrity he'd call for individual freedom, private property and the rule of law.
Those kinds of thoughts are way, way beyond UN cavemen.
Another neanderthal pr*ck.
Career diplomat. Hopefully living next to Nuke happy North Korea has had an "influence" on his political philosophy.
You beat me to it...
"The Slipper Eel"
Thats all we need to know...
Maybe before his reign is over we'll have ended the lease of that property on East 44th street and kicked them over to Europe where they belong...
And ended our involvement with them as well..
Funny, this all had a chance to work out with Bolton in play in that gaggle of wannabes that organization was populated with...
Not sure about them now...Not that I'll be crying over my orange juice this morning with that doubt...
How about bringing to trial anybody sponsoring 'suicide bombing'?
Not a bad idea...
But I think it would be a shame if we didn't call it for what it really is: