4 September 1997

Press Release


19970904 The Secretary-General arrived in Norway for a three-day official visit on the afternoon of Tuesday, 2 September, and proceeded immediately to a meeting with the Prime Minister, Thorbjorn Jagland. The Secretary-General briefed the Prime Minister fully on United Nations reform and the latter expressed his Government's total support for the Secretary-General's reform package. He pledged to make every effort to ensure its passage at the forthcoming General Assembly session, which he would himself attend.

The two men also discussed the Oslo Land-mine Conference, which had begun its work the day before, the status of the Stabilization Force (SFOR) operation, as well as the follow-up to the June special session of the General Assembly to review Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and the forthcoming Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Kyoto, Japan.

At a working dinner hosted by Foreign Minister Bjorn Tore Godal, the discussion again focused on the Secretary-General's reform package and once more the Foreign Minister pledged his strong support for the proposals. The Foreign Minister and the Secretary-General then had an extensive tour d'horizon of international issues, including African questions, the Middle East, East Timor, Cyprus, Western Sahara and the Great Lakes region of Africa.

In the morning of 3 September, the Secretary-General had a meeting with former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, with whom he discussed the United Nations reform process.

Meeting with the Speaker of the Norwegian Parliament, Kirsti Kolle Grondahl, followed by discussions with its foreign Affairs Committee, the Secretary-General was given strong assurances that there was indeed no disagreement between the position of the Government and Parliament and that both were very supportive of the Secretary-General's reform initiatives. The Secretary-General briefed his interlocutors on aspects of his proposals dealing with economic development, humanitarian programmes, human rights and drugs and crime. He then answered Parliamentarians' questions on the future of peace-keeping operations, Bosnia, Serbia and Burundi.

The Secretary-General then proceeded to a private audience with the King of Norway, followed by a luncheon hosted by the King and Queen in honour of the Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan.

- 2 - Press Release SG/T/2109 4 September 1997

In the afternoon of 3 September, the Secretary-General addressed the Oslo Diplomatic Conference on an International, Total Ban on Anti-personnel Land-Mines. (See SG/SM/6313/Rev.1 of 3 September.)

That evening, he was guest of honour at a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Jagland.

On the last day of his official visit to Norway, 4 September, the Secretary-General met with the Minister of Defence, Jorgen Cosmo, with whom he had intensive discussions on the establishment of a Rapid Reaction Force. Both agreed that the Rapidly Deployable Mission Headquarters in New York was an essential first step, as was the launching in Copenhagen two days earlier of SHIRBRIG (see SG/T/2108 of 3 September), and noted that further steps were still needed for a Rapid Reaction Force to become operational. The Minister of Defence and the Secretary-General also discussed cooperation between the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)) in Bosnia, the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Croatia and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in Lebanon.

With the Minister of Development Cooperation, Kari Nordheim-Larsen, the Secretary-General had a wide-ranging discussion on the reform of the United Nations during a meeting, as well as over a working luncheon. The Minister expressed her very strong support for the Secretary-General's reform package and pledged to do her utmost in New York to ensure its passage. The Secretary-General and the Minister then reviewed specific aspects of the Secretary-General's proposals including the coordination at the national level of United Nations activities, the role of the specialized agencies, the United Nations financial crisis and development funds.

The Secretary-General then met with a group of Norwegian non- governmental organizations mainly from the humanitarian and human rights fields. The group gave the Secretary-General credit for viewing NGOs as part and parcel of the United Nations of the future. He in turn assured them of his commitment to opening up the Organization and strengthening its relations with NGOs, civil society and others.

The Secretary-General then answered specific questions regarding conflict prevention, protection of civilians, humanitarian assistance, post- conflict democratic building, the permanent international criminal court and the appointment of Mary Robinson as High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Secretary-General then left Oslo for Iceland where he will undertake a two-day official visit.

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For information media. Not an official record.