Prague - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appreciated the Czech Republic's effort in the sphere of human rights and humanitarian aid after a meeting with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) today.
Generální tajemník OSN Pan Ki-mun (vlevo) a premiér Bohuslav Sobotka vystoupili 4. dubna po setkání na Úřadu vlády v Praze na společné tiskové konferenci. ČTK Šulová Kateřina
Ban and Sobotka also discussed the latest developments in Ukraine, Syria and Central Africa.
As far as the tension between Ukraine and Russia that recently annexed Crimea is concerned, Ban said he and Sobotka had agreed on the necessity to find a political solution to the crisis and to support the two sides' direct dialogue.
Ban said he had thanked Sobotka for a generous support for the humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
He said he believed the Czech Republic would continue with the support as it may take a long time before a solution to the Middle East conflict is found, while people needed aid immediately.
Ban voiced concern over the violence against civilians in the Central African Republic.
He said he was doing his best to mobilise an efficient international reaction.
Ban told journalists that his second trip to the Czech Republic pursued the objective of strengthening the partnership between the Czech Republic and the United Nations.
He also praised the Czech Republic for making the question of climate change a part of its policy and invited Sobotka to a meeting on it that is scheduled for New York on September 23.
Sobotka said after the meeting human rights would be still a priority of Czech foreign policy.
He said the Czech Republic would seek membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) even in the next term.
Sobotka said the United Nations was still an important international platform for the Czech Republic whose good functioning could prevent risky situations in the future.
Earlier today, Prague Charles University rector Tomas Zima presented Ban with a gold medal for promotion of cooperation and understanding among nations.
Prague Charles University gives gold medal to Ban Ki-moon
Prague Charles University rector Tomas Zima presented United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with a gold medal for promotion of cooperation and understanding among nations today.
Ban said he had held the Olympic torch, but never even dreamt of winning a gold medal.
He said he had accepted it on behalf of the thousands of U.N. employees who fought with determination for peace and human rights across the world, often in very difficult conditions.
Ban said many of them had paid with their lives for peace, stability and human rights. These are the real champions, he added.
Ban then delivered a lecture on the Czech Republic and the United Nations, in which he said due to the crises in Ukraine and Syria one could not ignore long-term problems such as poverty, violation of human rights and climate change.
He said even the problems that might not seem quite urgent might pose a bigger danger in the long run. That is why they must be paid attention, too.
Along with some less visible conflicts such as those in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, he spoke about the trio of his priorities.
The first is the fulfilment of the millennium development objectives U.N. countries set down in 2000, Ban said.
Although a great progress has been achieved in their fulfilment, there are still 57 million children in the world without access to elementary education, while every seventh inhabitant of the planet lives in poverty, Ban said.
He said that after the deadline for the fulfilment of the millennium development objectives expires next year, he would like to outline a vision for another 15 years.
This time, along with developing countries, it should also relate to the developed countries and to economic, social and environmental issues, Ban said.
The third priority is fight against climate change that has been clearly proven thanks to scientists' work, he added.
Ban voiced the belief that even the richest countries could not fight global change independently as there was need of a concerted action.
Women's greater participation in politics and further decision-making processes is one of the ways with which to make the struggle more efficient, Ban said, adding that they were the least tapped source.
The world in which women will have more power will be better, he added.
After his arrival last night, Ban had a dinner with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD).
During his two-day stay in Prague, Ban is scheduled to have talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD), President Milos Zeman and other political leaders.