Global warming, terrorism at top of agenda
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in San Francisco yesterday.
By Julia Cheever
July 27, 2007
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a San Francisco
audience yesterday that his priorities include addressing international
terrorism, poverty, the Darfur conflict and climate change.
Ban, a South Korean diplomat who became the U.N.'s eighth secretary
general on Jan. 1, said global warming has risen to the top of
the organization's agenda.
"We are now starting out at a very critical and important
juncture. The time is very late. The cost of inaction is far greater
than the cost of action," Ban said.
Ban spoke before about 1,300 people at the Fairmont Hotel at
a program sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Northern California,
the United Nations Association and the Asia Foundation.
He called the Darfur crisis in Sudan "a topmost priority"
and said solutions include U.N. peacekeepers and the development
of water resources such as the recently discovered huge underground
"I am going to solve this Darfur situation as soon as possible,"
Ban, 63, was South Korea's foreign minister from 2004 to 2006
before being elected to the U.N. post and also previously served
as that country's ambassador to the U.N.
He said, "I feel very humbled and honored looking at all
the challenges I have seen in the last seven months."
But Ban, who speaks with an unassuming manner, said his quiet
demeanor shouldn't be mistaken for weakness.
"I have made many decisive decisions," he told the
"I may not offer soaring rhetoric, but I promise results,"
Ban began his remarks with a tribute to San Francisco as the
birthplace of the U.N. and to Libba Patterson of Novato, who was
his host on his first visit to the United States at age 18 in
1962 after he won an English-language essay contest sponsored
by the Red Cross.
"I indeed left my heart in San Francisco on my first visit
to American soil," Ban said.
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