In his first meeting with United States President George W. Bush since assuming office as Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said the two leaders mutually pledged to work together to try to achieve the goals of peace and increased global prosperity.
Mr. Ban told reporters after his talks with Mr. Bush at the White House in Washington, D.C. that the pair had had “a very good, very useful meeting” in which he stressed the value of a strong partnership between the UN and the US.
“The United Nations needs the strong and active participation and strong support of the United States, as the UN and the US have a shared objective of promoting human rights, democracy and freedom and peace and security, as well as mutual prosperity,” he said.
Mr. Ban said they discussed key regional issues, including the Darfur crisis in Sudan, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Somalia and the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The Secretary-General added that Mr. Bush’s assurances and comments underlined his confidence that the world body “can have a very mutually cooperative and good relationship in the future” with the US.
Asked by a reporter about a newspaper column written by John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN, Mr. Ban said Mr. Bolton had raised some good points among his suggestions for reform measures at the UN.
“The United Nations should change, with much more efficiency and effectiveness and mobility and the highest level of ethical standards,” he said. “I am very much committed to carry out this reform, and I need the strong support of all Member States and the staff of the United Nations in carrying out these reform measures.”
During his visit to Washington, Mr. Ban met both Democratic and Republican members of the US Congress, including key members of the Senate and House committees dealing with foreign relations. He also addressed the Center for Strategic and International Studies, outlining his view of his priorities in office and on the future of the UN-US relationship.