Con­ge­nial col­lab­o­ra­tion brought tan­gi­ble re­sults

The Washington Times Daily - - DECADE OF LEADERSHIP: UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY - G - By Am­bas­sador Nas­sir Ab­du­laziz Al-Nasser Am­bas­sador Nas­sir Ab­du­laziz Al-Nasser is the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the United Na­tions Al­liance of Civ­i­liza­tions.

Ihave known Mr. Ban Ki-moon for more than a decade. In the next few para­graphs, I will talk about the man that I had the priv­i­lege to work with, as our paths crossed to­gether since 2001 while jug­gling dif­fer­ent port­fo­lios within and across the U.N. sys­tem. In 2001, Mr. Ban was the Chief of Cabi­net of the Pres­i­dent of 56th Ses­sion of the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly and I was the Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the State of Qatar to the United Na­tions.

In 2006, the State of Qatar, my coun­try, started serv­ing a two-year term as a non-per­ma­nent mem­ber of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. It was the same year Mr. Ban was elected as the eighth U.N. sec­re­tary-gen­eral. Qatar sup­ported Mr. Ban as an Asian can­di­date.

In 2011, I was elected Pres­i­dent of the 66th Ses­sion of the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly. It was a dy­namic and event­ful year, as it wit­nessed the po­lit­i­cal trans­for­ma­tions that took the Arab world by storm. It was also a sig­nif­i­cant year in our work­ing re­la­tion­ship. Our solid co­op­er­a­tion, which was ce­mented along the years, was man­i­fested in two his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant trips that we un­der­took to­gether.

The first trip was to Libya on Nov. 2, 2011. We were the first high-level of­fi­cials to visit Tripoli right af­ter the change of the regime of Colonel Muam­mar Gaddafi. The joint visit demon­strated the U.N.’s strong sup­port for the Libyans as they em­barked in their crit­i­cal jour­ney of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, democ­racy and re­con­struc­tion.

The sec­ond joint mis­sion was to So­ma­lia on Dec. 9, 2011. It was the first visit by the U.N. sec­re­tary-gen­eral and a sit­ting pres­i­dent of the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly. The dev­as­tat­ing sit­u­a­tion in So­ma­lia had slightly im­proved due to in­creased hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance. Three out of six re­gions were lifted out of famine a month ear­lier.

A roadmap was adopted in Septem­ber of that year. That was an op­por­tune mo­ment to reaf­firm to the So­mali peo­ple the sup­port of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. I had pro­posed the visit to Mr. Ban dur­ing our monthly lun­cheons. He agreed with en­thu­si­asm.

We met in Nairobi, as Mr. Ban was ar­riv­ing from a cli­mate change sum­mit in South Africa. As we were re­view­ing our plans, the chief of se­cu­rity en­tered the room to let us know that our itin­er­ary had been leaked. The Boe­ing 737 that will be trans­fer­ring us would be an easy tar­get. We were ad­vised to post­pone the trip for our own safety. We agreed that post­pon­ing our trip would send the wrong sig­nal to a coun­try that sorely needed our sup­port. I sug­gested to Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban and our se­cu­rity de­tail that we ar­rive ear­lier than an­tic­i­pated. And this what we did. We safely made our way to the So­mali pres­i­den­tial of­fice at Villa So­ma­lia. The visit demon­strated how the U.N. sec­re­tary-gen­eral and the pres­i­dent of the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly work­ing to­gether could en­hance the vis­i­bil­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness of the United Na­tions.

In a sim­i­lar way, we con­tin­ued to work closely to­gether again as of 2013 to date. It was the year I as­sumed the po­si­tion of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the United Na­tions Al­liance of Civ­i­liza­tions (UNAOC). The Al­liance is the po­lit­i­cal ini­tia­tive of the U.N. sec­re­tary-gen­eral, co-spon­sored by the gov­ern­ments of Spain and Turkey. His ef­forts have ad­vanced UNAOC causes by up­hold­ing our shared val­ues: peace, di­a­logue, tol­er­ance, re­spect and di­ver­sity. He has reg­u­larly par­tic­i­pated not only in our an­nual high-level min­is­te­rial meet­ings and global fora. But he has done more. He has ac­tively en­gaged in sup­port­ing our project ac­tiv­i­ties, par­tic­i­pat­ing in UNAOC youth events, sum­mer school, and the In­ter­cul­tural In­no­va­tion Awards. His ac­tive en­gage­ment has been en­er­giz­ing for all of us, and if I may say so, for him as well.

I have been deeply priv­i­leged to work by his side. To­gether, we have made im­por­tant gains and I can say that the progress we made in ac­tiv­i­ties, in which we both col­lab­o­rated closely in the past years, is our shared legacy.

Dur­ing his decade-long lead­er­ship, Mr. Ban has demon­strated his diplo­matic skills in a quiet and an unas­sum­ing de­meanor in a global arena rat­tled by tur­moil. His door has al­ways been open to ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing his crit­ics.

I am very proud to have known Mr. Ban not only as a re­li­able and re­spected col­league but also as a loyal and devoted friend.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.