Meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 2015-09-28 20:25:00 New York Following his speech at the plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly, Vladimir Putin met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The meeting addressed issues of international cooperation and the fight against terrorism. Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon: Mr President, welcome to the United Nations. This is our first meeting in ten years and I was very much looking forward to your visit to the United Nations. Since your stay is so brief, I hope we will have maximum benefit and very productive meetings in relation to this very inspiring speech at the General Assembly. Thank you very much for a very positive recognition of the United Nations’ role. Since our time is very limited, I’d like to use our very limited time on the Syrian situation. I understand that you are going to meet with President Obama this afternoon. And there is a high expectation that if and when the US and Russia have some political support in this, we may have a breakthrough on this. My message to you and President Obama and P5 is that the solidarity and flexibility and spirit you have shown during the Iranian nuclear deal, if you use this in other areas – Syria – there is nothing which cannot be solved. I have established a full working group with Special Envoy De Mistura. This is to expand the political space, to operationalize the Geneva Communique. And I count on your strong support on this. Another one is Ukraine. You mentioned the situation in Ukraine in your statement. The current situation seems to suggest that the Minsk Agreement ceasefire is being held, largely, but is still not perfect. And there needs to be some more political will from both the parties. I understand that next week, on October 2, there is going to be a Minsk Normandy-type meeting. I hope that will also be a very productive one. But I believe that your own engagement will be very important to, first of all, make this ceasefire continue, as well as so that dialogue can resume. As far as the UN is concerned, we have various concerns about the humanitarian situation as winter is approaching. I know that winter in Ukraine is severe and all these people do not have much. There should be some easy access, without any hindrance, without any insecurity. I count on your leadership. Another one is climate change. I’m very grateful for your very positive, strong statement on climate change in your statement today. I think the US, China, Russia, India, Brazil, the European Union – if they are united, I think we can have a very successful climate change agreement in Paris. Yesterday, Minister Lavrov made a positive statement. I convened a small gathering – a summit meeting on climate change at lunch yesterday. The Chinese President and many leaders came. And I hope we really solidified our political will to have this climate change agreement. Thank you very much for your contribution to peacekeeping operations – military, helicopters and aviation – and I hope we will have continued provision and support from the Russian Federation. I am going to have a P5 foreign ministers’ meeting and also a meeting for the Middle East peace process and ministers of Europe will have another opportunity, so I’d like to limit my statement now. Thank you very much, Mr President. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Secretary-General, thank you very much for your positive assessment of my speech at the General Assembly. As one of the UN’s founding nations, Russia is interested in strengthening this universal organisation. You heard when I said that we understand that the world is changing and we are prepared to talk about developing the organisation on the basis of a wide consensus with all UN members, without casting any doubt on its universality or the principles of its work. As for the more acute issues in the world, with the fight against terror currently holding a particularly important place, we very much hope that we’ll be able to find common ground with all our partners – the Arab nations, Turkey, the United States and European nations – in order to find a common platform for fighting terrorism, to overcome national differences and work on them together with all interested countries, developing the process of political change in nations in the region, including Syria. However, without strengthening the state structures in the region’s governments, including in Syria, we cannot resolve any of these challenges; and if we waste time, then the terrorists will celebrate their victory. I believe I’ll have an opportunity to discuss this today with President Obama, as well as other colleagues. I very much hope that we will be able to agree on a positive joint agenda. As for Ukraine, here, the main problem lies in the need to establish direct dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and the authorities in the two unrecognised republics. All the sides need to fulfil the Minsk Agreements – that’s most important. But at the same time, as you already noted, Mr Secretary-General, the ceasefire has been achieved and now, another step must be taken: negotiating the withdrawal of weapons of less than 100 mm calibre. We must move forward in all three main areas: political settlement, security and humanitarian and economic issues. We will work on this together. Thank you.