The recent earthquake in Chile was the focus of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s meeting today with the South American nation’s President Sebastián Piñera.
The 8.8-magnitude quake on 27 February claimed the lives of more than 480 people and triggered a tsunami that devastated several coastal towns in south-central Chile.
The Secretary-General reiterated the support of the United Nations for post-earthquake reconstruction, commending the Chilean Government’s response to the disaster.
He expressed his sympathy for the plight of miners trapped in a mine in northern Chile, wishing every success for the rescue operations. According to media reports, 33 men have been trapped thousands of feet below the ground in the San Jose gold and copper mine since early last month, and it may take months for rescuers to reach them.
Mr. Ban also welcomed Chile’s progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight globally-agreed anti-poverty targets, as well as the country’s leadership in South-South cooperation.
The MDGs were also a focus of the Secretary-General’s talks today with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parilla.
The two leaders agreed on the need to galvanize the political will needed to meet the Goals, which have a 2015 deadline.
Mr. Ban welcomed Cuba’s impressive progress towards reaching the targets, and also expressed his appreciation for Cuba’s assistance to Haiti in the wake of its catastrophic earthquake in January.