United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in London early on Thursday morning, 27 January.
Upon arrival, the Secretary-General travelled to No. 10 Downing Street, where he attended a breakfast hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. This event was attended by Heads of Delegation who were to attend the London Conference on Afghanistan later that morning.
At Lancaster House, in addressing that Conference, the Secretary-General said that we face a long and complex process of recovery and institution-building in that country. (See Press Release SG/SM/12722.)
He said the international effort to deal with Afghanistan must be inclusive; it must strengthen governance and meet the basic needs of the Afghan people; it must respect human rights; and it must foster an environment conducive to justice and accountability, where corruption cannot thrive. He said Afghans had suffered for far too long from a culture of impunity and the lack of rule of law.
The Secretary-General added that our re-shaped relationship must be built on a gradual but steady transfer of responsibilities and authority from international stakeholders to Afghan institutions.
The Secretary-General held a series of bilateral meetings that morning. He first met with Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, with whom he discussed the United Nations role in coordinating civilian assistance. They also discussed good governance and the fight against corruption. The Secretary-General encouraged Afghan leadership and ownership efforts to further strengthen the country's role in the transition. The Secretary-General underscored the United Nations readiness to support the electoral process in Afghanistan, should Kabul request assistance and subject to Security Council approval, and the importance of further enhancing that process.
The Secretary-General introduced Staffan de Mistura, who would take over at the beginning of March 2010 from Kai Eide as his Special Representative for Afghanistan. The Secretary-General said he was sure his new Special Representative would receive equally firm support from the Afghan leadership.
Mr. Ban also met Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister of China; Stephen Smith, Foreign Minister of Australia; Bernard Kouchner, Foreign Minister of France; Dimitris Droutsas, the Alternate Foreign Minister of Greece; and Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister of Turkey.
The Secretary-General departed London that evening for Addis Ababa, via Frankfurt, to attend the Summit of the African Union.