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On margins of UN debate, Secretary-General discusses range of topics with world leaders

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.

On margins of UN debate, Secretary-General discusses range of topics with world leaders

Amidst the high-level debate taking place in the General Assembly today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed a host of key international issues with a range of world leaders.

The meeting between the UN chief and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Anders Fogh Rasmussen, saw the two men discuss long-term international support to Afghanistan, in particular training of Afghan security forces, and follow-up to the Chicago Summit held earlier this year.

They also discussed issues of mutual interest, including the role of NATO in Kosovo and Libya, and exchanged views on the crisis in Syria, as well as ongoing cooperation between the Secretariats of the organizations they lead.

The Secretary-General met with leaders of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as well as CARICOM’s Secretary-General, the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Kenny D. Anthony.

They discussed issues of interest to the Caribbean region, including the impact of the global financial crisis, climate change, education, non-communicable diseases and sustainable development, as well as UN cooperation with CARICOM. Mr. Ban acknowledged Haiti’s upcoming Chairmanship of CARICOM.

The Secretary-General met with Niger’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Bazoum. In that encounter, he commended the Government of Niger for the measures it has taken to curtail corruption and restore good governance in the country.

Mr. Ban also expressed concern about food insecurity and severe climatic conditions, while assuring the Foreign Minister of UN support for Niger’s ongoing efforts to address these issues in a sustainable manner. The two men also discussed the impact of the Sahel crisis on Niger.

In the meeting between the Secretary-General and the President of Hungary, János Áder, the two men discussed the sustainable development agenda, including Hungary’s leadership on water and sanitation issues, and the emerging consensus on the post-2015 UN development agenda.

Mr. Ban and the President also noted the importance of 2013 as the UN International Year of Water Cooperation, as well as Hungary’s initiative to host a conference on water resource management.

The Secretary-General also hosted today a working luncheon for the five permanent members of the Security Council: China, the United Kingdom, Russia, France and the United States.

Those attending were Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi of China, Foreign Minister William Hague of the United Kingdom, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France, and Ambassador Susan Rice representing the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

The meeting opened with a discussion on the situation in Syria, and all Council members expressed their support for the efforts of recently-appointed Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi.

Other topics discussed included the importance of rapidly reinvigorating the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority; how the international community could improve the coordination of the various efforts underway to address the challenges in the African’s Sahel region, particularly northern Mali; and the agreement signed on Thursday by Sudan and South Sudan on borders, oil and other arrangements.

The Council members discussed the importance of the upcoming election in Afghanistan and other issues there. Mr. Ban and the Council members also expressed concern over the increasing reach of hate speech, and condemned excessive violent reactions to free speech.

In addition, on Thursday, the Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, met with the President of the Transition of the Republic of Madagascar, Andry Nirina Rajoelina.

The two men discussed the implementation of the Roadmap and the preparations for the 2013 elections, with the President emphasizing the need for support from the international community in the organization of free and fair elections in the Indian Ocean nation, which experienced political upheaval last year.

Mr. Eliasson conveyed the continued engagement of the United Nations in this regard, and underlined the importance of reconciliation in the country.