Secretary-General opens new UN premises in Astana
Astana, 10 June, 2015 – Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon jointly with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Erlan Idrissov has participated in the official ceremony of opening the new UN building.
The Secretary-General and the Minister of Foreign Affairs cut the ribbon in the new premises, unveiling the new six-story building located in the prime area of Astana on 14, Bokeikhan Street overlooking the Ishim river.
“I’m sure that with this excellent facility the United Nations teams, funds, programmes, and agencies will be able to work with one team, delivering as one, to meet the expectations of the people of not only Kazakhstan, but the people of the world,” the Secretary-General said to the media. The Secretary-General’s main purpose of the visit was to attend the fifth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana on 10 June 2015, upon invitation from the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.
“That was an extension of your country’s efforts to promote peace and harmony on the world stage. I would like to highly commend and appreciate the leadership and vision of President [Nursultan] Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.
“Kazakhstan has helped advance a global conversation between religious and political leaders about promoting tolerance and the universal right to freedom of religion and beliefs. I strongly believe that religious leaders have a critical role to play. This was also the subject of a United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting which I convened in late April for the same purpose. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is clear: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” In Kazakhstan, as anywhere else, all religious and minority groups should be guaranteed this right on an equal footing. Governments around the world should recognize the decisive role of this and other fundamental freedoms in fostering pluralism, understanding and democracy,” Mr. Ban Ki-moon said.
The ceremony also featured the presentation of honorary degree to the Secretary-General by the chancellor of al-Farabi Kazakh National University Mr. Galimkair Mutanov. The Secretary-General expressed deep honour for having been presented the degree.
“I know that by giving me this honor, you are honoring all the men and women of the United Nations who are working tirelessly, day and night, for world peace and democracy and human rights, even under very difficult and dangerous circumstances. I am giving this honor to all of my staff and that is why I am receiving this honor from your university. You are one of the oldest universities in Central Asia and I will do my best to preserve that kind of honor and legacy of your university,” the Secretary-General said.
The Secretary-General’s previous visit to Kazakhstan was in 2010, when he attended the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Kazakhstan became a member of the UN on 2 March 1992, with a representative office having been opened in Kazakhstan on 16 February 1993.
Kazakhstan is a member of almost all UN agencies, programmes and funds.
This year the United Nations celebrates its 70th anniversary.