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Ban Ki-moon heads to Turkey this week for meeting on Iraq

Ban Ki-moon heads to Turkey this week for meeting on Iraq

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend a high-level diplomatic meeting on Iraq to be held later this week in Turkey, his spokesperson announced today.

The Istanbul Expanded Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Neighbouring Countries of Iraq will focus on ways to promote greater regional dialogue, Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.

It will also serve to strengthen the work of the three regional working groups focusing on refugees and internally displaced persons, border security and energy that were established at the last ministerial meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

“The Secretary-General hopes the Istanbul meeting will be an important opportunity for the participants to find mutually acceptable solutions on issues of common concern,” Ms. Okabe said.

The Istanbul gathering was anticipated by Mr. Ban, who convened a high-level meeting on Iraq in New York in September.

On that occasion, he urged greater international action to help the country and pledged the full support of the UN in this effort.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the Secretary-General said he had proposed the establishment of a “support office” in Baghdad to facilitate coordination between Iraq and neighbouring governments.

The proposal was met with a “positive response,” he said, anticipating that it would be finalized at a planned expanded ministerial meeting to be held in Istanbul.