Global hotspots in focus as Ban meets EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton

22 September 2013

The situation in Syria, prospects for Iran nuclear talks, and efforts to restore peace and an inclusive government in Egypt were among the topics discussed today by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton.

On the eve of the General Assembly high-level week, Mr. Ban met with Ms. Ashton at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

“As Quartet Members, they also touched upon the state of affairs in the Middle East Peace Process” according to a readout of the conversation issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson.

Turning to Somalia, Mr. Ban welcomed the European Union's active engagement, including the successful convening of a recent conference in Brussels which finalized the New Deal, seen as a roadmap for promoting statebuilding and peacebuilding over the next three years by focusing on the Somali political processes, security, legal system and economic foundation.

During the one-day meeting last week, hosted jointly by the EU and the Somali Federal Government, the Somali leadership set out its priorities and plans on a course to deliver on them, while the international community laid out future support for those priorities.

Mr. Ban also acknowledged the EU's continued support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Today's meeting also focused on urgent humanitarian aid to the Central African Republic (CAR), where an estimated 1.6 million people are in dire need of assistance, including food, protection, health care, water, sanitation and shelter.

The CAR – which has been marked by decades of instability and fighting – witnessed a resumption of violence last December when the Séléka rebel coalition launched a series of attacks.

Mr. Ban and Ms. Ashton also discussed the Sahel region of West Africa where 11.4 million people are facing food insecurity.

The two officials also discussed the pressing importance of concerted action regarding climate change.

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