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President Pahor: "The gap between the poor and the rich constitutes the greatest threat to world peace and security."

New York, 25. 9. 2013 | press release

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, who is currently attending the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, yesterday late in the afternoon local time, after holding a number of bilateral meetings, had a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and today, on the second day of his visit, attended a special event on reviewing the progress made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and crafting the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Today he also had a meeting with the President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gül.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, who is currently attending the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, yesterday late in the afternoon local time, after holding a number of bilateral meetings, had a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Mr Ban and Mr Pahor exchanged views on the situation in Syria, agreeing that it is of vital importance to find, as soon as possible, a long-term and comprehensive solution to end the conflict in the country. They shared the view that preference should be given to a diplomatic solution on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations. They also exchanged views on the situation in the Western Balkans, including the implementation of the agreement on normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. The UN Secretary-General congratulated President Pahor on the Brdo Process, a forum for high-level political dialogue between leaders in the region, launched with a view to resolving outstanding and regional issues in the Western Balkans. President Pahor said that Slovenia saw the Brdo Process as a responsibility, and one that is expected from us by our European and international partners, since informal meetings of the region’s leaders, which provide opportunities to resolve outstanding issues and promote reconciliation, help improve the prospects of south-eastern European countries’ future in Europe. The UN Secretary-General also extended thanks to President Pahor for Slovenia’s role in preserving international peace and its commitment to the concept of responsibility and protection of human rights. At the conclusion of the talks, Mr Pahor took the opportunity to invite Mr Ban to visit Slovenia.

In a statement to the Slovenian media, President Pahor said that Slovenia endeavoured to the best of its abilities to have an active role in international politics. With regard to the situation in Syria, he stressed that it was important that demanding political, security and other issues of this kind were resolved with the agreement of the international community or the United Nations Security Council, which is still a pillar of international peace, giving us hope that we will prevent the tragedies experienced in the two world wars of the 20th century from happening again in the 21st century. He said that Slovenia also welcomed the dialogue between Washington and Moscow.

Asked whether he agreed that this year’s session of the UN General Assembly was more important than other sessions in recent years had been, Mr Pahor said that this year’s session was not being held in the shadow of a possible military attack on Syria, and that everyone, irrespective of how they saw the course of developments in the Middle East in the future, hoped that, through dialogue, the international community would come to a unified agreement on how to tackle events in Syria.

With regard to the Millennium Development Goals, President Pahor said, "While on the one hand we are critical of the international community setting itself goals which are then not implemented as we would want them to be, we nevertheless notice that some things in the world are changing for the better, also thanks to the efforts of the United Nations." He continued, "The United Nations does not set itself certain goals in vain, although the public, at least at first, may have doubts as to whether they are attainable at all. But on the other hand, if it does not do so and strive towards their implementation, there will be no progress.” He added that he would like the United Nations not only to maintain but also to strengthen its authority. In this regard, he pointed out that, in the past sixty years, the world had changed, and with it the balance of power, and that if the United Nations was to reflect the balance of power, the UN Security Council and the organisation itself would have to undergo reform: "It will have to do this if it is to meet the challenges of the new century. I believe that it is good that the United Nations is aware that it has achieved many changes for the better in the international community during these years. However, if it is to continue to perform this role, the organisation itself will have to change too, which will probably be a very difficult task."

In his address at the "Millennium Development Goals" round-table, at which world leaders discussed the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the crafting of the Post-2015 Development Agenda in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 65/1, President Pahor stressed that the gap between the poor and the rich constituted the greatest threat to world peace and security and that narrowing this gap should be one of the United Nations’ main concerns within the Millennium Development Goals. In order to achieve this, a platform should be provided for countries, international institutions and the private sector to cooperate with a view to developing basic infrastructure in the poorest and most vulnerable countries. President Pahor highlighted Africa as a continent which requires most urgent attention in this respect.

On the margins of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Pahor also had a meeting with the President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gül. Mr Pahor and Mr Gül agreed that the two countries had developed friendly and highly diversified relations, which had been further enhanced by the formation of a strategic partnership. However, despite this, or perhaps for this very reason, there are still many open opportunities for enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the field of investment. President Gül thanked President Pahor for the support in Turkey’s accession negotiations for full EU membership. Mr Pahor and his Turkish counterpart also exchanged views on the situation in Syria. In this regard, Mr Gül said that Turkey was directly affected by the crisis, since thousands of Syrian refugees had fled to Turkey, which now represented a considerable burden on the country. He added that the international community should also consider the long-term impacts of the crisis in Syria on neighbouring countries. President Gül took the opportunity to invite his Slovenian counterpart to visit Turkey.

Tomorrow, President Pahor will deliver a lecture on the future of Europe at Columbia University, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. Later, he will deliver an address on behalf of the Republic of Slovenia during the general debate of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, where the main emphasis will be on the post-2015 development agenda.

President Pahor will conclude his visit to New York with a meeting with the President of the 68th session of the General Assembly, John W. Ashe.