United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the twelfth Summit of the Francophonie in Quebec City, Canada, where he and his wife, Ban Soon-taek, arrived on the afternoon of Friday, 17 October.
His programme of work began soon afterward with a meeting with Abdou Diouf, the Secretary-General of the Francophonie. They discussed the international financial crisis, United Nations/Francophonie relations and peace and security in Africa.
Secretary-General Ban then met with Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper. Their discussion covered a range of issues, including Haiti, Somalia, Georgia, Afghanistan and the food and financial crises.
At the formal opening of the Summit, which came soon after this meeting, the Secretary-General delivered a speech in which he exhorted the Francophonie member States to work more aggressively towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, combating climate change and ensuring that the international crisis does not disproportionately afflict the poorest among us. (See Press Release SG/SM/11870.)
Later that evening, he attended an official dinner for Heads of States, Heads of Governments and other dignitaries participating in the Summit.
On Saturday morning, he met with Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest, with whom he discussed Haiti, climate change, the financial crisis and the current state of the Francophonie.
His next bilateral meeting was with King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia. His Majesty and the Secretary-General exchanged views on border tensions between Cambodia and Thailand, on Myanmar and on the role of Cambodian demining teams in south Sudan, among other topics.
After a brief formal meeting with Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi of Morocco, the Secretary-General welcomed President François Bozizé of the Central African Republic to his conference room. Together they discussed the national reconciliation process in the Central African Republic and other regional issues.
The Secretary-General later met with Bernard Makuza, Prime Minister of Rwanda, to review the state of relations between Rwanda and its neighbours in the context of regional peace and security.
Before leaving Quebec City, the Secretary-General met with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. They discussed the international financial crisis and President Sarkozy’s proposal to hold an expanded Group of Eight summit to address the problem. In a letter he sent to President Sarkozy soon after their meeting, the Secretary-General expressed support for the idea of holding a summit to deal with the financial crisis. And, in a statement released by his Spokesperson that same afternoon, the Secretary-General said that he fully subscribed to the idea of convening such a forum in early December at the latest. He also offered the facilities of the United Nations Secretariat in New York, noting that holding the summit at the United Nations, the symbol of multilateralism, will lend universal legitimacy to this endeavour.