On the eve of his meeting in Washington, D.C. with United States President George W. Bush, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said the two will discuss climate change ahead of a special session on the issue planned for September in New York and a global conference to be held two months later in Bali.
At a press conference in New York today, Mr. Ban said he was encouraged by the expectations surrounding the high-level meeting on climate change which he will convene on 24 September at UN Headquarters, adding that he intends to use that opportunity to generate necessary political will “to give strong political impact and guidelines to the forthcoming Bali meeting.”
Stating that US participation in the upcoming meetings is “crucial,” Mr. Ban said he was encouraged by the initiative taken by President Bush on the subject of global warming, particularly at the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Germany last month.
In addition to climate change, the two leaders are also expected to discuss UN reform, the continuing crisis in the Sudanese region of Darfur, as well as UN-US relations and other pressing geopolitical concerns.
While in Washington, Mr. Ban is also scheduled to meet with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
Upon his arrival in Washington this evening, he will attend a private dinner with political leaders and experts on climate change.
Mr. Ban will continue his discussions on climate change, which he described as an issue “close to my heart” when he makes an official visit on 26 and 27 July to San Francisco – the birthplace of the UN.
Together with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Ban will tour local businesses in the Bay Area that are using ‘green’ technologies. “I look forward to seeing first-hand how California leads the world on this issue of supreme importance,” he stated.
Mr. Ban said San Francisco has held special memories for him since he was a young foreign exchange student there in 1962. When he returns next week, he plans to meet a woman he knew as Mrs. Patterson when she opened her home to the young Korean student.
The two have stayed in touch and Mr. Ban is looking forward to the visit. “I cannot wait to see her,” he said.