United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Trieste, Italy, on the morning of Friday, 26 June, to attend a meeting of the Middle East Quartet.
That gathering of the Quartet, which brought together representatives of the United Nations, United States, Russian Federation and the European Union, as well as Quartet Envoy Tony Blair, had five items on its agenda. Those items were: moving towards Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; supporting the Palestinian Authority and economic growth; the situation in Gaza; comprehensive peace between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon; and the Moscow conference on the Middle East.
The communiqué issued by the Quartet, following its meeting, noted that the United States briefed the Quartet on its intensive ongoing discussions with all parties in the region to create the conditions for the prompt resumption and early conclusion of negotiations to resolve all permanent status issues, without preconditions. The Quartet also called on Israel and the Palestinians to implement their obligations under the Road Map and affirmed that unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community. (See Press Release SG/2152.)
In a press conference following the Quartet meeting, the Secretary-General said, “We need to work very hard towards meaningful progress [so as] not to lose the faith again of all the people in the Middle East.”
The Secretary-General then attended a meeting of the Group of Eight (G-8) foreign ministers on Afghanistan. The meeting focused on regional perspectives, including cooperation in border management and countering illicit drug trafficking. In remarks to that meeting, he said, “For regional efforts to succeed, they must be initiated, planned and implemented in consultation with the Afghan Government and the country’s people. It is they who have suffered so grievously from political upheaval, natural disaster and many other misfortunes. And it is they who hope to move irreversibly along a new path, toward a new vision for their future.” (See Press Release SG/SM/12338.)
Also on Friday, the Secretary-General, along with the other Quartet principals, held a closed meeting with members of the League of Arab States’ follow-up committee on the Arab Peace Initiative.
While in Trieste, the Secretary-General took the opportunity to hold bilaterals with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and India’s new Foreign Minister, S.M. Krishna.
That evening, the Secretary-General attended a gala dinner, held at the Castello di Miramare and hosted by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, for the G-8 and Quartet Ministers.
The following morning, Saturday, 27 June, the Secretary-General left Trieste for New York.