Developments in Syria 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, which took place on the margins of the recently opened 67th session of the General Assembly, Mr. Ban stressed the grave implications of the worsening situation in Syria and underlined the devastating humanitarian impact.
He also drew attention to the potentially harmful consequences of inflammatory rhetoric, counter-rhetoric and threats from various countries in the Middle East.
In addition, Mr. Ban urged Iran to take the necessary measures to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Iran's nuclear activities have been of international concern since the discovery, in 2003, that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years, in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
The Secretary-General also expressed the hope that under Iran's Chairmanship, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) would continue to play constructive role in world affairs. Mr. Ban recently attended the 16th NAM summit in the Iranian capital, Tehran, where he met with various Iranian officials as well as representatives from Member States in attendance.
Mr. Ban also met today with the Malian Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra, with whom he discussed the political, security and humanitarian challenges that Mali is facing.
The two men exchanged views on the situation in northern Mali and the Government efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, and Mr. Ban reassured Mr. Modibo Diarra of the full support of the UN to Mali in its efforts to fully reestablish constitutional order and territorial integrity.
During his meeting with Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Mr. Ban welcomed the Government's commitment to dialogue, good governance and genuine democracy while calling for the implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review.
In addition, Mr. Ban exchanged views with the Estonian President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, on enhancing the effectiveness of UN efforts to strengthen rule of law and the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On separate meetings, Mr. Ban discussed developments in the Middle East and Syria with the Prime Minister of Kuwait, Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah, the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, the President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
In a meeting with Atifete Jahjaga, Representative of the Kosovo authorities, Mr. Ban reiterated the UN's commitment to contribute to lasting peace and security in Kosovo, and encouraged the country's authorities to remain committed to peaceful integration of all communities and building a multi-ethnic society.
The Secretary-General also met today with Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda, President of Malawi, Mohamed Waheed, President of the Republic of Maldives, Paraguayan President Luis Federico Franco Gómez, and Dhoinine Ikililou, President of Comoros.