Wrapping up visit, Assembly President lauds Republic of Korea’s role at UN

Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd session of the General Assembly

26 August 2008 – The General Assembly President today highlighted Seoul’s growing contribution and involvement in the work of the United Nations, as he concluded a three-day visit to the Republic of Korea.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Srgjan Kerim also drew attention to the Republic of Korea’s role in addressing the priority areas of the current session of the General Assembly, including climate change, development, countering terrorism and UN reform.

Mr. Kerim discussed those and other issues when he met with President Lee Myung-bak and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan today.

In reviewing the Assembly’s priority issues, Mr. Lee stressed the importance of making both short- and long-term efforts to address the effects of climate change. He said conservation efforts should go hand in hand with the promotion of alternative energy. On his part, Mr. Kerim stressed that growth and the curbing of greenhouse gas emissions should not been seen as contradictory.

The two officials also exchanged views on the food crisis, with Mr. Lee commending current UN efforts and highlighting the need to address the issue through, among other things, stepped-up aid and promoting agricultural technology for increasing production.

Mr. Kerim told reporters he was especially pleased to hear about Mr. Lee’s green energy plan, as well as his commitment to increase his country’s official development assistance (ODA) and its contribution to UN peacekeeping.

The Assembly President also stressed the importance of Member States and the Secretariat forging close and effective working relationships. In this regard, he noted that during his Presidency he had a “very close, harmonious and most importantly quite productive” working relationship with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, particularly relating to the areas of climate change, the food crisis and countering terrorism.

As part of his visit, Mr. Kerim also paid a visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Relations between the two Koreas and the UN’s role in this regard also featured in his talks with Mr. Lee.

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