Vienna, 14 October 2006 – Minister for Foreign Affairs Ursula Plassnik offered her sincere congratulations to the newly elected Secretary-General after yesterday evening's formal vote in the UN General Assembly: "In Ban Ki-moon the United Nations will have a Secretary-General who is intimately familiar with the organisation. His long track record of experience and the excellent knowledge he has acquired through his work at the service of the United Nations will be of benefit to the UN and thus to us all. I am certain that with Ban Ki-moon at the helm of the UN in the coming years we will have another tireless advocate of a strong and efficient global community of states who will resolutely continue the ambitious fitness programme for the UN initiated by Kofi Annan."
With its clear vote the UN General Assembly of 192 member nations unanimously adopted the Security Council's recommendation of 9 October. As from January 2007 Ban Ki-moon will succeed Kofi Annan as the 8th UN Secretary-General, the second Asian Secretary-General after Burma's Sithy U Thant.
"The latest events on the Korean peninsula and the threatening scenario associated with North Korea's nuclear weapons test have made us very clearly aware how important the United Nations is to world peace. Thanks to his background and his experience within the framework of the six-party talks, Ban Ki-moon is equipped with a particular sensibility for this unresolved conflict", stated Plassnik.
"I am especially pleased that in Ban Ki-moon we have a friend and connoisseur of Austria who has personal experience of the UN headquarters in Vienna and is aware of the latter's importance. He is thus a guarantor for further intensification of the relations between the United Nations and Vienna", emphasised the Foreign Minister, adding that she had invited the new UN Secretary-General to Vienna in her letter of congratulation on his appointment. From 1998 to 2000 Ban Ki-moon had been the South Korean Ambassador to Austria, Plassnik went on. In November 2001 he had been awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria in recognition of his contribution to strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries, but also and above all for his committed work in the international organisations at the UN headquarters in Vienna. During his time in Vienna he had also given expression to his enthusiasm for culture by founding an Austrian-South Korean philharmonic orchestra.
Foreign Minister Plassnik has already met for talks with Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon on several occasions, most recently on the margins of this year's UN General Assembly in New York in September. "I have got to know Ban Ki-moon as an outstanding chief diplomat and an interesting and remarkable interlocutor. As the new UN Secretary-General he will play a significant role as a man of balance", concluded Plassnik.
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