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Situation in Afghanistan, Iraq tops UN chief's talks with Iranian leader

Situation in Afghanistan, Iraq tops UN chief's talks with Iranian leader

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran
Developments in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East were among the topics discussed today in a meeting between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During the talks, Mr. Ban commended Iran for its constructive role in counter-narcotics enforcement activities.

He also thanked the country for hosting a large number of refugees, encouraging it to continue supporting their welfare.

The Secretary-General expressed hope that Iran will constructively engage in negotiations with the so-called E3+3 – comprising the United Kingdom, the United States, China, France, Germany and Russia – for a mutually acceptable agreement in conformity with relevant Security Council resolutions.

During the meeting, Mr. Ban also underscored the importance of respecting fundamental civil and political rights.

He also met today with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, and two men discussed a range of issues, including Sudan and Somalia.

The Secretary-General encouraged Kenya's Government to continue implementing essential reforms to build a more peaceful and prosperous nation.

During his talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreous, he encouraged the European nation to continue to help sustain the momentum on the peace process in Cyprus.

Mr. Ban discussed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Hmong returnees, among other issues, with President Choummaly Sayasone of Laos.

The MDGs, along with next year's elections, were also a topic of discussion during the Secretary-General's meeting with Foreign Minister Jean-Marie Ehouzou of Benin.

In his meeting with Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, the Secretary-General thanked the official for his country's support for the work of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA).

The Centre was launched at the end of 2007 with the aim of helping the five governments in the region to increase their capacities to peacefully prevent dialogue, facilitate dialogue and respond to cross-border threats and challenges such as terrorism, drug trafficking and environmental degradation.

In his meeting with, Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Mr. Ban acknowledged the important role played by the countryin supporting the work of the UN and the international community in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and Pakistan.

For his part, General Assembly President Joseph Deiss met with the heads of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

He also held talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Metodiev Borisov.