31 August 2012 While in Iran for 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with several leaders of the group’s members, discussing issues ranging from nuclear power and security to human rights and the humanitarian situation in Syria.
Earlier Friday, Mr. Ban met with his counter-part at the League of Arab States, Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby. The two men discussed recent developments concerning Syria, including the intensified violence and mounting humanitarian crisis, according to information provided by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.
The humanitarian crisis in Syria was also the main topic of discussion between Mr. Ban and the Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Al-Moualem, with Mr. Ban urging the Syrian official to allow a greater number of humanitarian partners to operate so that aid can reach those who desperately need it.
In addition, Mr. Ban told Mr. Al Moualem that he was “extremely concerned” about the extent of destruction in Syria and the scale of civilian suffering, and reiterated that violence from all sides must stop immediately so that a political solution can be found.
Also on Friday morning, the UN chief met with the Malian Foreign Minister, Tieman Coulibaly, and expressed his hope that the remaining transitional mechanisms announced by the Interim President would soon be in place to allow for a swift and full restoration of State authority in the country, which has experienced conflict and drought in recent months.
On Thursday, the Secretary-General met with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Aliakbar Salehi, with whom he shared his concern about Iran’s nuclear programme and underscored the importance of transparency in this matter, as well as the need for Iran to fully comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Iran’s nuclear activities have been of international concern since the discovery, in 2003, that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years, in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Regarding the talks with the P5+1 grouping, which is made up of the five Security Council permanent members – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – along with Germany, Mr. Ban and Mr. Salehi agreed on the need for positive momentum that would advance the talks, according to the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.
On Thursday, Mr. Ban also met with the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsy, whom he congratulated for his recent victory in the country’s election. Mr. Ban reiterated the UN’s readiness to continue supporting Egypt’s transition, and underlined the importance of Egypt’s leadership on questions of regional peace and security.
During a Thursday meeting with the President of the Presidium of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Yong Nam, Mr. Ban voiced his concern about the food and nutrition situation in the country, particularly following the long dry spell in the spring and the recent flooding.
He also said he was disturbed about the humanitarian situation and emphasized the importance of ongoing contact between the UN and DPRK. Mr. Ban also added that he hoped for an improvement in cross-border relation with the Republic of Korea (ROK), which would also lead to an improvement of ties between DPRK and the United States.
Mr. Ban met with the Nepalese Prime Minister, Baburam Bhattarai, on Thursday. He urged him to continue efforts to find consensus so that constitution-making and reconciliation process can resume and be completed without delay.
The 16th NAM summit, under the chairmanship of the Government of Iran, began in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Sunday and ends today. Some 120 representatives from its Member States are in attendance, as well as from various associated observer countries.
Mr. Ban is due back in New York on Saturday.
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