A Statesman’s Forum with United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson
On October 16, Foreign Policy at Brookings is hosting United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson for a Statesman’s Forum focusing on the United Nations’ current agenda and upcoming work. Among the key issues being addressed by Ambassador Eliasson are the conflict in Syria, Iran’s diplomatic openings, developments in Afghanistan and the UN and its post-2015 development strategy. Brookings Acting Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Ted Piccone is moderating the discussion, and Foreign Policy at Brookings Distinguished Fellow Thomas Pickering is offering remarks.
Ambassador Eliasson was appointed UN deputy secretary-general in 2012. From 2007-2008, he served as the special envoy of the UN secretary-general for Darfur. Prior to joining the UN, he was Sweden’s ambassador to the United States from 2000 to 2005. In early 2006, Ambassador Eliasson was appointed foreign minister of Sweden and served in that capacity until elections were held later that year. He was Sweden’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1988 to 1992, Ambassador Eliasson has also served as the secretary-general’s personal representative for Iran/Iraq and was the first UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.
After the program, the deputy secretary-general will take audience questions.
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China has a strategic dilemma. They’re frustrated by the status quo, and they’re probing for ways to change it. But taking big, bold actions would come at an extraordinary cost to them. You can’t eliminate the possibility that they would be willing to pay that cost, and so we have to be prepared for it. But if you accept the proposition that war is inevitable, and we must do everything we possibly can to prepare for it now, then you risk precipitating the very outcome that your strategy is designed to prevent.
Both leaders held their ground on key issues without offering concessions in either direction. Even so, Biden and Xi clearly set a tone for their respective governments that tensions must be managed and that neither side seeks unbridled confrontation with the other.