8 March 2012 The situation in Syria and sustainable development were the main issues on the agenda during meetings in Belgium between the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, and several officials in the European country, including the President of the European Commission Manuel Barroso.
Mr. Al-Nasser, who is on a four-day official visit to Belgium, was also received by King Albert II at the Royal Palace in Brussels.
The meeting with Mr. Barroso dwelt on developments in Syria, where a bloody repression against a pro-reform uprising has been under way since last year. They also discussed the High Level Meeting on the State of the World Economy that Mr. Al-Nasser plans to convene in May, as well as the thematic debate at the General Assembly on improving disaster prevention next month.
Mr. Al-Nasser also conferred with Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, with discussions focussing on EU-UN relations, Syria, preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and the revitalization and reform of the UN.
The President of the General Assembly also met with Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action, exchanging views on preparations for Rio+20. Mr. Al-Nasser welcomed the EU’s ambitious target on improving energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. He briefed Ms. Hedegaard on the General Assembly’s thematic debate on the ‘Road to Rio and Beyond’ that he intends to convene in April.
Discussions between Mr. Al-Nasser and Helga Schmid, the Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, centred on the situation in Syria and the Middle East peace process. They also exchanged views on the theme of mediation and the High-Level Meeting on Mediation that he intends to convene on 22 May.
Mr. Al-Nasser also held talks with Didier Reynders, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs.
He also conferred with Andre Flahaut, the President of the Chamber of Representatives and Baroness de Bethune, the President of the Senate of the Federal Parliament of Belgium.
Mr. Al-Nasser also met with the NATO Secretary General Andres Fogh Rasmussen at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, where they exchanged views on cooperation between the two organizations, particularly NATO’s UN-mandated peace support operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
During the meeting, the first visit of a President of the General Assembly to NATO, Mr. Rasmussen underscored the Assembly’s important role and expressed NATO’s continuing interest in the UN body’s events.
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