18 March 2011 – The latest developments in the Middle East and North Africa topped the agenda during meetings between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Spanish leaders when the United Nations chief visited the European country today.
He met with Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez, and was also scheduled to have an audience with King Juan Carlos later today.
The Secretary-General stressed that Libya must cease all hostilities against its people immediately and that those responsible for human rights violations will be held accountable.
Mr. Ban expressed his gratitude for Spain’s contributions to the work of the UN in its core mandates – peace and security, development and human rights.
He said he will travel tomorrow to Paris for meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as other European, Arab and African leaders. “We will discuss ways to move forward to protect the people of Libya, in accordance with [Security Council] Resolution 1973,” Mr. Ban told reporters in Madrid.
The Secretary-General said he will, “in the coming days,” visit Egypt and Tunisia, where, he said the people “have shown immense courage in their efforts to bring about a new democratic order.”
“The purpose of my visit is to listen to the people, to express my solidarity with their aspirations for change, and to see how the United Nations can help with the transitions.
“I trust that the Government and people of Spain will also stand in solidarity with Tunisia and Egypt as they seek to chart a prosperous and democratic future,” Mr. Ban said.
His discussions with the Spanish leaders also touched on situation in other areas, including Western Sahara. “I know I can count on the continued support of Spain for the efforts of my Special Envoy towards finding a solution” to the dispute in Western Sahara, he said.
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