Secretary-General departs for two-nation Asia visit

9 April 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is en route for a weekend trip to Asia, where he will visit Laos and attend a summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Thailand.

Arriving in Laos on an official visit tomorrow evening, Mr. Ban will open the UN House in the country, UN spokesperson Michele Montas announced today.

On Sunday, he will co-chair the third ASEAN summit with Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in the resort town of Pattaya, and will also hold bilateral meetings with several regional leaders on the margins of the gathering.

The Secretary-General will then return to the United States on Monday to attend a major donors’ conference on Haiti hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington.

That gathering seeks to rejuvenate the international partnership with Haiti and to seek additional support for its reconstruction scheme, Ms. Montas said.

In a letter to donor nations, Mr. Ban stressed that the donors’ meeting is “of fundamental importance for consolidating the fragile stability of Haiti,” calling for bolstered technical and financial engagement in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

During his visit to Haiti last month with former United States President Bill Clinton, he said that he saw reason for hope and optimism that the country will break out of its cycle of poverty, but that beyond international help, sustainable social and economic development is essential to Haiti’s success.

Also travelling this weekend is Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, who will visit Spain.

Her first stop in the European country will be the capital, Madrid, where she will hold talks with top Government officials, including the First Vice-President, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Gender Equality.

In Barcelona, Ms. Migiro will open a high-level event, with the theme “Relations between the UN and the European Union: Towards an Effective Multilateralism.”

While in the city, she will meet with the President of the Parliament and the President of the Catalunian Government, among others.

From Spain, the Deputy Secretary-General will travel on to Canada, where she will address the Montreal Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight ambitious anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.

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