UN Secretary-General: New US policies warm international atmosphere
Ban hopes EU will take leading role in climate negotiations
The policies adopted by the new administration in the United States have had a very positive impact on the atmosphere in the United Nations, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Helsinki on Tuesday.
“The winds are very positive for international cooperation in general”, Ban said in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday evening. In his view, the atmosphere gives hope for countries that have felt isolated or neglected.
Ban said that US President Barack Obama has given personal assurances that a “strong partnership between the United States and the UN is one of his primary objectives.”
Ban said that the UN needs economic and political support from the United States, and flexibility from other countries.
Ban feels that the new and improved atmosphere should be utilised for a “new multi-polarity”, which will be needed to solve the various complicated crises. He did not specify what this new cooperation would entail, but he said that it should include more resources and common principles in addition to words.
At the same time Ban conceded that the required reforms in the UN have actually slowed down. He was specifically referring to the long-standing goal of changing the structure of the UN Security Council.
“With all of these economic crises, the interest has not been as great as it was last year, when matters began moving forward”, Ban said.
The positive changes in the political climate were overshadowed during Ban’s visit by Monday’s nuclear detonation by North Korea. The nuclear test also made it more difficult for Ban to focus on his aim of gathering more support for a new international treaty on the real global climate.
His main goal as Secretary-General at the moment is to hammer out an international treaty on greenhouse gas emissions, for which he was hoping to get support from Finland as well. The aim is to sign a new international treaty at the climate meeting in Copenhagen in December.
As part of the campaign, Ban and President Tarja Halonen appeared at a press conference on Monday wearing cloth tags with the slogan “Seal the Deal”. The otherwise low-key Ban also gave a tag to his interviewer, out of what appeared to be a large collection.
“The EU should take a leading role”, Ban said about the climate negotiations. He was clearly worried about increasing disunity within the EU, sparked by the economic crisis.
“I have emphasised to EU leaders that now is not the time for waiting”, Ban said.
Ban is also very concerned about the situation on the Korean Peninsula after the North Korean nuclear test. He does not believe that the test will lead to any clashes, however.
“The whole international community wants stability on the Korean Peninsula”, Ban Ki-moon said.
Previously in HS International Edition:
UN Secretary_General begins visit to Finland (26.5.2009)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
UN Secretary_General visits Finland (Website of the President of the Republic of Finland)