Commending Security Council during Tribute, Secretary-General Says ‘Continuing Nightmare in Syria’ Remains Deepest Regret as He Leaves Office

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Security Council tribute, in New York, today:

Thank you for this tribute. I am deeply honoured for the recognition which you have given me. It has been a privilege to work with all Security Council members over the past 10 years. The Council’s role in maintaining international peace and security is as daunting and necessary as it was 70 years ago when the United Nations was founded.

Over the course of the past decade, I have witnessed first-hand the Council’s capacity for innovative thinking. During my tenure, the Council established more than a dozen peacekeeping operations and special political missions. Some of these incorporated novel approaches to respond to complex situations.

The Council’s decision to establish the Force Intervention Brigade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo set an important precedent in addressing the challenges in the eastern part of that country. In Nepal, the United Nations Mission played a key role in supporting the peace process and the free and fair election of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly in 2008. This led to the completion of the Mission’s mandate in 2011. Other successes include the path to stability found in CAte d’Ivoire and Liberia.

We also deepened partnerships with regional organizations, above all the African Union. During my tenure, the Council has also consolidated the normative framework in relation to some very important cross-cutting items. I would particularly like to highlight the Council’s mainstreaming of women and peace and security in the agenda of the Council. I encourage the Council to continue its very important work in this regard and I know that my successor, Antonio Guterres, will be a most determined ally.

I also wish to commend the progress made by the Council in addressing sexual violence in conflict. While Council reform continues to be discussed in intergovernmental negotiations, the Council has increased its flexibility, transparency and efficiency. I urge the Council to continue its work to advance not just early warning but early action, preventive action, including through a greater focus on human rights and the deeper involvement of civil society.

I would like to close by emphasizing that the Council is strongest when it is united. Striking examples include the OPCW-UN (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations) Joint Mission for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria and the establishment of UNMEER (United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response) to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

But, where unity is lacking, such as on Western Sahara, the consequences can be profound. And, in the case of South Sudan, even catastrophic. However, my deepest regret on leaving office is the continuing nightmare in Syria. I once again plead with all of you to cooperate and fulfil your collective responsibility to protect Syrian civilians.

This Council holds the key to peace and progress for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. It has been a privilege and an honour serving you. I thank you for supporting me and our indispensable Organization. Thank you.

Source: United Nations

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