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Coming year promises to be just as crisis-prone as 2008, UN chief warns
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09:31, December 18, 2008

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned here Wednesday that the coming year promises to be no less difficult than 2008, which he called "the year of multiple crises."

Ban, speaking at his end-of-year press conference at the UN Headquarters in New York, said: "Our commitments and good intentions will be tested as never before."

The secretary-general outlined a host of challenges from climate change to the economic meltdown to ongoing crises in Sudan's Darfur region, the Middle East, Iraq, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.

He said that 2009 will be the year of climate change culminating in a meeting in Copenhagen next December to draw up a new treaty to slash global warming greenhouse gases. He added that he would hold a climate change summit at the UN Headquarters in September.

"We have only 12 short months to Copenhagen," he said. "We have no more time to waste. We must reach a global climate change deal before the end of the year -- one that is balanced, comprehensive and ratifiable by all nations. Success will require extraordinary leadership."

"The European Union's historic agreement on climate change and energy package, reached last weekend, demonstrates its commitment. I salute President Nicolas Sarkozy and Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission for their strenuous leadership. The United States under its new President-elect, Barack Obama, also promises bold new leadership," he added.

Asked to describe his feeling as the UN chief for the past two years, he said he was often frustrated by a lack of resources and a lack of political will as the world body is dealing with many problems concerning peace and development in the world.

But he tries very hard to "navigate in the troubled water." "My mission is to make the impossible mission to be a possible mission," he said.


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