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Secretary-General discusses range of international issues in meetings with world leaders at UN

Flags of Member States fly in front of the United Nations Headquarters building.
UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
Flags of Member States fly in front of the United Nations Headquarters building.

Secretary-General discusses range of international issues in meetings with world leaders at UN

From the Middle East peace process and the crisis in Syria, to regional cooperation and global education, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today discussed a host of international issues with a range of world leaders and senior government officials, on the margins of the second day of the United Nations General Assembly's high-level debate.

In the UN chief's meeting with the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, the two men discussed the deadlock in the Middle East peace process and the urgent need for re-engagement and tangible political progress towards the realization of the two-State solution.

They also discussed the situation on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territory, including the continuing settlement activity and the vital need for the international community to provide additional support to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The PA's financial crisis also featured in the meeting involving the Secretary-General and the Presidents of the European Council and European Commission, Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso, respectively.

They exchanged views on the improved economic signals from the eurozone, and the positive implications for the world economy. In addition, they spoke about cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union in a number of areas, including the follow-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which took place in Brazil in June; the Secretary-General's global initiative on 'Education First,' launched today on the margins of the General Assembly; and the importance of mitigating the harmful impact of climate change.

The efforts being made by Guatemala to fight impunity and insecurity came up for discussion in the Secretary-General's meeting with that country's President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina.

The Central American leader reiterated his Government's request for an extension of the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, often known by the Spanish-language acronym CICIG.

President Pérez also invited Mr. Ban to attend the next General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which will be held in Guatemala, and the UN chief noted the importance of Guatemala's engagement in the establishment and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainability also figured in the Secretary-General's meeting with the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, with the two men discussing the work of the High Level Panel on the post-2015 global development agenda, disaster risk reduction – and the President's leadership role in this field – as well as UN reform efforts.

They also exchanged views on the partnership between the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation, Myanmar, Timor-Leste and Syria. In addition, they discussed Indonesia's moderating role in regard to acts of intolerance and the reactions they generate.

The situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, featured in the Secretary-General's meeting with the Prime Minister of Belgium, Elio Di Rupo.

Mr. Ban raised concerns over support to rebel movements in the region, which has experienced a renewed bout of conflict over recent months, displacing hundreds of thousands of people in the process.

The two men also exchanged views on the situation in Syria, and agreed on the importance of the international community doing more to provide additional resources to meet the pressing humanitarian needs resulting from the crisis. In closing, the UN chief and the Prime Minister addressed issues related to the follow-up process to Rio+20.

The participation of Pacific countries in Rio+20 and its follow-up was discussed at the Secretary-General's meeting with the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum. Mr. Ban and the leaders exchanged views on regional and global initiatives in which the latter have played a key role, including climate change and sustainable development.

They also discussed the need to work toward developing a more effective coordination and support framework for regional development, and addressed peace and security issues, including regional efforts in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, in addition to reaffirming their commitment to continue working together on areas of common interest, particularly in the lead-up to the Small Islands Developing States Conference in 2014.

In the Secretary-General's meeting with the Speaker of Kyrgyzstan's Parliament, Asylbek Jeenbekov, the pair discussed the situation in the country, covering issues of governance, judicial reform, human rights, the on-going peacebuilding process and inter-ethnic reconciliation.

The Secretary-General expressed his hope that the Central Asian nation's so-called Concept of Ethnic Policy would soon be approved and implemented, and the two men also addressed Kyrgyzstan's active engagement in the region and issues related to water and energy.

In addition to the situation in Syria, the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, discussed the importance of education for all in today's world, and exchanged ideas on how the international community could best support the Secretary-General's 'Education First' initiative.

The meeting between the Secretary-General and the President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, saw the two men discuss a range of issues, including the status of the negotiations between Athens and Skopje on the “name” issue.

Mr. Ban reiterated the importance of moving towards decisions that will resolve the matter expeditiously and in a mutually acceptable manner.

In a meeting on Tuesday, the Secretary-General met the President of the Republic of Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos De Almeida Fonseca. They discussed the African nation's achievements towards meeting the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations' performance in 'Delivering as One' in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago, the importance of combating drug-trafficking and broader challenges pertaining to Africa's Sahel region, including the situation in Mali.

They also discussed the security situation in the sub-region, in particular, the crisis in Guinea-Bissau, and the impact of climate change in landlocked countries such as Cape Verde.

In another meeting on Tuesday, the Secretary-General met the new Prime Minister of Somalia, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, whom he congratulated on the political progress which has taken place in the Horn of Africa country with the completion of its transitional governing period.

Mr. Ban and the Prime Minister discussed political and security developments in the East African nation and the need for support to stabilization and institution-building in the coming months.

They also discussed the continued support of the United Nations to Somalia, including through the Peacebuilding Fund and in the area of human rights, and exchanged views on issues related to piracy.