Ban Ki-moon invites US President Bush to attend UN climate change debate

Ban Ki-moon ( left ) speaks to reporters

17 July 2007 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today invited United States President George W. Bush to attend a high-level United Nations debate on climate change to be held this fall.

“On climate change, which is a very important issue for all humankind, I appreciate President Bush’s initiative, during the Heiligendamm G-8 Summit meeting,” Mr. Ban told reporters after his meeting with the US leader in Washington, DC.

The two men discussed a number of global hotspots, including Sudan’s Darfur region and the Middle East.

Regarding the situation in Iraq, which the Secretary-General characterized as “the problem of the whole world,” he pledged the UN’s continued support to the country’s Government and people.

“We are going to help with political facilitation as well as economic and social reconstruction,” he said.

The International Compact process – a five-year plan for peace and development – as well as the expanded foreign ministers meeting will “provide a good opportunity for the Iraqi people and the international community to work together for peace and security in Iraq,” he noted.

The Secretary-General welcomed the developments in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), where this weekend UN inspectors verified the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

“I hope that the parties concerned, including DPRK, will take necessary measures to implement this joint statement to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as soon as possible,” he said.

Mr. Ban held his first-ever meeting with World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and conferred on the importance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of targets to slash social ills by 2015.

He also met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, with whom he discussed the work of the Middle East Quartet, whose principal members – the UN, US, European Union and Russian Federation – are meeting in Lisbon later this week.

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