I want to see greater role of India: Ban Ki-moon

Yusuf

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Sweet talk. Wonder what more he can do for India as far as the council seat goes. Well there is nothing he can do. He is but just a secretary.

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What were the highlights of your talks with the Indian leadership over the past couple of days?

India is an important member state of the UN across the spectrum of all UN objectives. We discussed peace, security and human rights. This is my third visit to India. I had good and constructive meetings with PM, foreign minister, Sonia Gandhi, Meira Kumar and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. I appreciated Indian government's strong support for the UN, their cooperation and commitment to peace and security as the third largest troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping operations. Another purpose for my visit is to share with the international community the success stories in public health.

....

Do you see India's permanent membership to a reformed UN Security Council happening anytime soon?

Yes that was one of the topics we discussed. I am fully aware of the long-standing aspirations of the Indian government to serve in better and stronger positions as permanent member of the Security Council. There are some common views among members that Security Council should be reformed in a representative, democratic and transparent manner. They are still trying to find out modalities where all the member states can have a common view. These are very important issues which are still being discussed.

You are going to Myanmar tomorrow. How will the UN help Myanmar move further on its reforms? What will be your message?

Recently, we have seen steps towards democratization taken by President Thein Sein after he took over the presidency. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has also contributed particularly to the democratization of her country. Now, with this very successful by-elections which was conducted in a peaceful and transparent and credible manner. This was the first step towards further democratization. I am going to add my voice and the international community's strong wish to see further democratization of Myanmar. I will strongly encourage President Thein Sein and his government's to do more.

UN is committed to working closely with Myanmar authorities. We will try to normalize UN engagement there. UNDP will upgrade their country team and closely work with the Myanmar authorities to provide socio-economic support. As one of the concrete measures, we are going to help the Myanmar government to conduct national census. I understand that the last census was taken of three decades ago.

To give priority to social developmental policies he should have statistics. We are going to help by signing a memorandum of understanding. UN Population Fund will support that. We will also strongly encourage reconciliation among the ethnic groups. While some democratic processes have taken place, they need to have reconciliation. That will be very important. We will also extend technical and logistical support for peace-building process. This is very important. This country should move ahead without going back. If the is not sufficient support from the international community there is always the risk of slipping back.

You spoke about reconciliation. What should President Rajapakse do in Sri Lanka, which was recently criticized by the UN Human Rights Council?

I appreciate the difficult process the Sri Lankan government has undertaken, that they had to go through, fighting against terrorism. But in the course of the final few months of the military operations, it was also seen that unfortunately, tens of thousands of people were killed and human rights have been seriously violated. I have been urging president Rajapakse and his government to address this issue for sustainable social and political path. Accountability should be taken. I have established a panel of experts and Sri Lankan government, upon strong urging from the international community has instituted their own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. They made good recommendations. It's important for President Rajapakse to implement the recommendations of the LLRC as well as my panel of experts. Now, that president Rajapaksehas been re-elected he has a strong political mandate. This accountability system has to be fully restored as soon as possible.

What are the chances of success of Kofi Annan's mission in Syria?

From the beginning it was President Assad and his regime, which started killing people, who have not listened to the aspirations, grievances and concerns of its people. Naturally, the people have been expressing their frustrations in a different manner against the violent means by using military forces, killing their own people. Therefore, it should be President Assad's duty to stop the killing first. There are strong Security Council resolutions authorizing deploying 300-strong monitoring mission and the violence should stop.

But he hasn't stopped the violence. I am gravely concerned about is happening in Syria. Despite such a strong and urgent and earnest appeal from the international community, almost 10,000 people have been killed. He must stop this and fully cooperate with the supervision mission. Syrian people have suffered too much, too many people have lost their lives. How many people have we to lose in this situation? First stop the violence and immediately start a political dialogue in an inclusive way for a political resolution of the issue.

What are your views on the talks regarding the Iranian nuclear programme?

This is one of the sources of huge concern in the international community. Earlier this month the P-5+1 held talks with Iranians. I understand that they have decided to meet again in Baghdad on May 23. That is encouraging. I read a report that the Iranian government is also going to have a consultation with IAEA soon, early next month. There is no alternative to peaceful resolution of this issue through dialogue. I sincerely hope the Iranians will fully comply with the UN Security Council resolutions and fully cooperate with the IAEA. That is the best way. They have to prove themselves. The onus is on them to reassure that their nuclear programme is genuinely for peaceful purposes.

Can you tell us about your Indian connection?

I regard myself as a member of the Indian family. I started my first diplomatic posting in 1972 in New Delhi. I believe that was the best thing that happened in my life, which led me to serve my country in an important capacity and now serve as secretary general of UN. My son was born in New Delhi in 1974. Then, many years later my daughter married an Indian. They have one son. I regard my grandson as the best joint venture between Korea and India.

What I need to see is much greater role of India in the family of nations, for peace and security and development and human rights. That's my unofficial mission.
Source: http://m.timesofindia.com/PDATOI/articleshow/12915138.cms
 

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