In finding solutions for the Darfur conflict, global warming, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and a host of other issues, the United Nations and the United States were essential partners, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told former president George Bush and other US officials on his first visit to the state of Texas today.
"The United Nations has no better friend than America," Mr. Ban said in remarks to the William Waldo Cameron Forum on Public Affairs at the Bush Presidential Library.
"According to opinion polls, three quarters of Americans believe the United Nations should play a larger role in the world," he added. "Why? Because working together is in the best interest of the United States. It's in the best interest of the UN and the best interest of the world."
Turning to Darfur, Mr. Ban said the US and UN were working together because Americans, including current US President George W. Bush, want action to end a conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives and forced 2.2 million from their homes.
Darfur, he said, was also about climate change, since drought and other climate effects had boosted tensions there and in many parts of the world.
He said the UN must work on climate change because it is a global problem, and the engagement of the US is crucial because markets, technology and entrepreneurship are a big part of the solution.
"Visiting Silicon Valley last summer, I saw how venture capital is pouring into new technologies for renewable energy and fuel efficiency," he said, noting that a recent report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that investments in clean energy technology could reach $1.9 trillion by 2020.
Beside his theme of partnership on global issues, Mr. Ban's remarks today were peppered with personal reminiscences concerning the idea of the US, and the statesmanship of former president Bush.
"As a boy growing up in South Korea, I was inspired by America and its noble ideals," he said. "American soldiers saved my country from communist aggression. They were so friendly to me and so generous. I'm still grateful for the sacrifice the American people made for my nation," he affirmed.