United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Washington, D.C., in the morning of Tuesday, 16 January.
His first meeting there was with President George W. Bush. They discussed, among other topics, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Darfur, Somalia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Secretary-General spoke to reporters afterward, telling them that it was a useful meeting in which he had stressed the importance of a strong partnership between the United Nations and the United States.
While in Washington, he also met with members of the United States Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, including key members of both the Senate and House committees dealing with foreign relations. That included meetings with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and a breakfast meeting on 17 January with the members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, hosted by Committee Chairman Tom Lantos and ranking Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Secretary-General gave a speech, laying out his priorities at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Among other things, he talked about the need to confront the tragedy of Darfur, to make serious efforts for progress in the Middle East, to invigorate disarmament and non-proliferation efforts and to resolve the uncertainty over Kosovo’s status.
He told the audience, “In East Asia, where I come from, 60 years marks one full cycle. So as the United Nations has completed its first 60 years, we now enter a new cycle in the life of our Organization. We can build a new golden era for the United Nations, if we work collectively to make it so -- and if the United States is with us, wholeheartedly and consistently.” (See press release SG/SM/10842.)
Following his meetings with different members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, he returned to New York on Wednesday afternoon.