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General Assembly President and Chilean leader hold talks in Santiago

30 July 2008 - Climate change, development and the food crisis were among the issues discussed by the President of the General Assembly and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in Santiago, the first stop on a three-nation tour for the head of the 192-member body.

Srgjan Kerim met with President Bachelet yesterday at the Presidential Palace of Cerro Cartillo, in Viña del Mar, where the two discussed some of the priority issues on the agenda of the General Assembly, including climate change, financing for development, South-South cooperation, human rights and the food crisis.

The also discussed efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the eight anti-poverty targets world leaders pledged to achieve by 2015.

President Bachelet praised Mr. Kerim’s activism during the current session of the Assembly and reiterated Chile’s commitment to multilateral institutions, and the UN in particular. They agreed on the need to reform the world body, including the Security Council, as well as the Bretton Woods institutions.

The Chilean leader recalled her country’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations and its support to the stabilization process in Haiti. Just two weeks ago, members of the Chilean contingent of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) were recognized for their service in a medal ceremony in Port au Prince.

Mr. Kerim expressed his appreciation for Chile’s active role in the UN and its support for the reform initiatives. He also congratulated the signing of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), highlighting the increasing importance of regional organizations for the work of the UN.

The Assembly President also held a meeting yesterday with the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alícia Bárcena, and met with the Resident Coordinator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Enrique Ganuza.

Mr. Kerim continues his visit today with meetings with the Directors of the Ministry of External Relations of Chile, ECLAC officials and the UN Country Team. He also is expected to deliver a lecture at ECLAC on “the role of the United Nations in the globalized world: promoting a new culture of international relations.”

After wrapping up his visit to Santiago, Mr. Kerim will depart for Buenos Aires.