New York: Days after a scathing report against him by a Norwegian diplomat leaked to media, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he always welcomed criticism and has decided to go ahead with his planned visit to Norway next week.
Ban said the Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called him on Tuesday morning and expressed regret over the leak of the internal memo written by Norway's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations.
The memo published in a Norwegian daily last week had criticised Ban for his "lack of charisma", charging him with displaying weak, ineffective and counterproductive leadership.
"He (Stoere) again expressed his government's and his own regrets over the leak of this internal report which should have been used within their own government, and also he expressed his strong support and preparedness to work together with the United Nations on all the major issues of the United Nations," Ban told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
"I appreciated his press conference, and his telephone call, and as a matter of principle, I welcome criticisms. Criticism, when it is constructive, helps me to improve my work, my performance," Ban said.
"I will continue to work very closely, not only with Member States, but with the media, with journalists. You have the right to say what you believe and what you have seen in my job as Secretary-General," he said.
Ban said, "I would welcome any such good suggestions, constructive criticism".
Ban, who is visiting Norway next week in order to witness the impact of global warming on the North Pole, said he is "heartened by the opportunity" to visit the country and have dialogue with the leaders.
"I will be very happy to discuss how we can further strengthen this relationship. Norway, by any standard, is one of the most generous and most active supporters of the United
Nations," Ban said, adding, "In that regard, I place a very high importance on my visit to Norway."
When asked if he regarded the memo as unfair, Ban said, "I have already stated what I believe. All diplomatic staff – it's part of their normal activities to report to their home
governments. What the Foreign Minister said is that he regretted that this memo had been leaked to public knowledge."
First Published: Thursday, August 27, 2009, 11:41