Sunday, 24 January 2021

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Ban Ki-moon: “Let us summon the spirit of Reykjavik”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speech in Iceland to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the so-called Reykjavík Summit

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned against “the resurgence of Cold War ghosts” in a speech in Iceland to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the so-called Reykjavík Summit.

Speaking at a seminar at the University of Iceland to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1986 the meeting between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviete leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Secretary-General said that “Reykjavik’s lessons have never been more relevant,” referring to an audacious plan for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

The Secretary-General quoted Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev´s words when he said it was a “breakthrough, which allowed us for the first time to look over the horizon.”

Mr. Ban added: “Look around. We see the resurgence of Cold War ghosts. We see serious challenges to the framework for the pursuit of arms control and disarmament, and paralysis in the disarmament machinery. …So my message to world leaders today is clear: Let us summon the spirit of Reykjavik.”

During his visit to Iceland on 8-9 October, Mr. Ban received the Arctic Circle´s Climate Sustainability Award at its annual meeting.

In a key-note speech the Secretary-General said that the Arctic is “ground zero for climate change,” and pointed out that on one single day last month, the Arctic ice cap melted at three times its normal rate, losing ice the size of England.

UN SG Ban Ki-moon Reykjavik speech

He welcomed that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will enter into force on 4 November after 74 countries, representing almost 60% per cent of global emissions, have ratified the pact.

“Now we must turn words into deeds, and implement the Agreement,” Mr. Ban said in his speech.

During his stay in Iceland, the Secretary-General had meetings with Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland, Mr. Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Prime Minister of Iceland, and Ms. Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, Minister for Foreign affairs, congratulating them for Iceland’s ratification of the Paris Agreement and encouraging the country to establish a mechanism to oversee the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Photos: UN Photo Rick Bajornas.

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