Ban reports on first 10 days in office as UN Secretary-General
In his first formal news conference since assuming office, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reported on his first 10 days, ranging from efforts to give momentum to solving long-standing crises such as those in Sudan and the Middle East to “housekeeping” steps to strengthen the world body’s institutional capacity.
“I have had a busy first 10 days in office,” Mr. Ban said. “The next three months promise to be even busier.”
He detailed his meetings with senior officials on the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, where over three years of fighting have killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others, noting that Africa will be the focus of many of his priorities, with his first major trip to attend the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the end of the month, where Darfur and Somalia will top the agenda.
Among other priorities the Secretary-General cited Lebanon, Iraq and efforts to “inject new momentum into the search for peace and stability in the Middle East.” On his way to Africa, he is scheduled to attend the Lebanon reconstruction conference in Paris, following last year’s 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah.
On Israel-Palestine, he said he was pushing for a meeting as possible of the Diplomatic Quartet – the UN, European Union (EU), Russia and the United States – which is seeking the establishment of two States living side by side in security and peace, a goal that was originally set for the end of last year.
On the “home front,” Mr. Ban stressed he would strive to restore trust, both between Member States and the Secretariat, and between senior management and staff, strengthen institutional capacity, and change the working culture of the Organization itself.
“My goal will be to build a staff which is truly mobile and multi-functional, through greater emphasis on career development, training, accountability, and recognition of work performed at all levels,” he declared.