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Activities of Secretary-General in Croatia, 20-22 July

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his wife, Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, on the afternoon of Friday, 20 July, from Slovenia.

His first stop was at the Old City Hall, where he gave a lecture organized by the Academy for Political Development.

The Secretary-General noted that when Croatia joined the United Nations 20 years ago, it hosted five different United Nations peacekeeping operations, but now, the country sends its troops out into the world.

“Twenty years ago, hundreds of thousands of Croats depended on outside assistance,” he said.  “Today, Croatia donates its resources to others in need.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/14423.)

The Secretary-General and his wife toured the Old City of Zagreb by foot before visiting the Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, named after one of the founding fathers of the World Health Organization (WHO).

There, the Secretary-General gave remarks, saying that “diseases do not carry passports.  They do not respect borders.  They provide a compelling example of how in our globalized world, countries must come together for solutions to our common problems.  The United Nations is the best forum to carry out this work forward.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/14424.)

Before departing Zagreb for Brijuni Island, the Secretary-General met with Dr. Dzenana Rezakovic, a fellow alumnus of the Vista Programme that Mr. Ban took part in fifty years ago in the United States.  He then held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff members.

The Secretary-General’s first appointment on the morning of Saturday, 21 July, was a meeting with President Ivo Josipović, followed by a joint press conference.  The Secretary-General told reporters that “Croatia’s engagement internationally strengthens this country, the region and our world.”

He then met with Prime Minister Zoran Milanović before attending a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister in his honour.

The Secretary-General held a meeting with Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić before he and his wife took a guided tour of Brijuni Island and attended a State Dinner hosted by the President.

He then transferred by boat to Pula, where he took part in the fifty-ninth International Film Festival in the city’s Roman amphitheatre.

He told attendees at the opening ceremony that he strongly believes in the power of movies, which have a magical power to bring all the people together around the world,” voicing hope that the creative community can work together with the United Nations.  (See Press Release SG/SM/14425.)

The following morning, the Secretary-General left Brijuni and travelled to Poreč, where he visited the Euphrasian Basilica, a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

He then travelled to Paladnjaki, an agro-tourism farm in the county of Istria, where he wrapped up his visit to Croatia by taking part in a lunch hosted by Ivan Jakovčić, the county’s Prefect.

The Secretary-General departed for Podgorica, Montenegro, on Sunday afternoon, 22 July.

For information media. Not an official record.