Ban Ki-moon holds meetings with Portuguese leaders

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

9 July 2007 – Continuing an official visit to numerous European capitals, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stopped in Lisbon, Portugal, to meet with the country’s leaders.

The Middle East, Darfur, Timor-Leste and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of internationally agreed poverty reduction targets, were on the agenda during talks with President Anibal Cavaco Silva, according to UN spokesperson Marie Okabe.

The Secretary-General held a meeting with former President Jorge Sampaio, who currently serves in the newly-created post of UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, established in 2005 to tackle fear and suspicion, bridge divides and overcome prejudices and polarizations between Islam and the West.

Mr. Sampaio was appointed to the post by Mr. Ban this April.

The Secretary-General also met with Foreign Minister Luis Filipe Marques Amado, and in comments to reporters afterwards, Mr. Ban voiced his concern over the situation in Darfur.

“He noted that the meeting of the International Contact Group in Paris on 25 June appears to have generated a new momentum, and consolidated international support,” Ms. Okabe said at UN Headquarters in New York.

Mr. Ban also voiced deep concern over the Middle East, highlighting as an immediate priority the permanent and reliable reopening of Gaza crossings to give access to commercial and humanitarian supplies.

During his time in Lisbon, he has also met with other senior officials and is scheduled to hold discussions with Prime Minister José Sócrates, before departing this evening for Brussels.

Prior to his stop in Lisbon, Mr. Ban travelled to Geneva, where he opened the high-level portion of the annual UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session and attended the Global Compact Leaders Summit, as well as Rome, where he was present at the Conference on the Rule of Law in Afghanistan.

While in Geneva, Mr. Ban also visited the headquarters of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which he called “one of the most powerful organizations in the UN system,” and hailed its work in bridging the digital divide, enhancing cybersecurity and strengthening emergency communications for disaster prevention and relief.

In Brussels, he will be present at the first meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, followed by an official visit to the United Kingdom, before returning to New York on 12 July.

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