In talks with arriving world leaders, UN chief spotlights climate change, Ebola, regional cooperation

22 September 2014 | News and Media

New York, 21 September 2014 – Ahead of this week’s opening of the United Nations General Assembly’s annual high-level session Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed a host of top Government officials throughout the day, continuing the tradition of meeting arriving world leaders for one-on-one talks spotlighting key international issues.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo

According to a readout from his spokesperson, among the leaders Mr. Ban met today was Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission. They discussed the strategic partnership between the two organizations and ways to continue to enhance such cooperation in the area of peace and security.

They also reviewed challenges to peace and security in Africa, including the situation in Libya, Mali/Sahel, Somalia, South Sudan and the Great Lakes Region. Mr. Ban reaffirmed the United Nations’ commitment to a strengthened partnership with the AU and its Regional Economic Communities. Th eUN chief also briefed the Chairperson on UN efforts to combat the spread of the Ebola disease.

The Secretary-General also met with Mr. Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Underscoring today’s ever-complex and increasingly transnational challenges to peace and security, Mr. Ban reaffirmed that the UN’s partnership with regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter was more important than ever.

In that context, the Secretary-General highlighted the growing partnership between the two organizations and commended the OSCE for its key role in peace and security in Europe and in particular for its strong commitment to support a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

Among his other meetings, the Secretary-General held talks with Nabil Elaraby, Secretary General of the League of Arab States and thanked him for the continued great cooperation between the two organizations.

On Syria, the two Secretaries-General agreed that there was no military solution to the conflict, and that the situation was getting worse, which could lead to more radicalization in the region. In this connection it was imperative that the international community should cooperate in the face of the scourge represented by ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant].

Turning to Gaza, they agreed that the latest tragic round of violence needed to be the last. Mr. Ban said he hoped international donors would be generous at the conference for the reconstruction of Gaza next month, but it was wrong to keep destroying a place and expect the international community to repeatedly repay for its reconstruction. The cycle of build-destroy, build-destroy had to come to an end. They also discussed the worrying situation in Libya.

Mr. Ban also held separate talks with leaders from the Latin Americn and Caribbean region, including President Michelle Bachelet Jeria of Chile. He expressed his gratitude for Chile’s contributions to the United Nations, including as a troop contributor to UN peacekeeping operations and as a member of the Security Council. They discussed regional developments, as well as issues relating to climate change and women’s empowerment.

In talks with Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Foreign Minister of Cuba, the Secretary-General discussed that country’s current economic changes, the post-2015 development agenda, climate change and Cuba’s role in hosting the Colombian peace talks. They addressed the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and Mr. Ban thanked Cuba for its important contribution of medical doctors as part of international efforts to address the crisis.

A full account of Mr. Ban’s meetings today can be found here.