United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Austria from a five-nation visit to Central Asian countries on Wednesday, 7 April.
In Vienna the following day, the Secretary-General met with Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, and discussed a range of topics with him, including the future of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the need to continue to support Middle East peace talks, the current challenge of nuclear non-proliferation and the need for continued support for Afghanistan.
Regarding Kyrgyzstan, the Secretary-General told reporters that he was urgently dispatching a special envoy, Jan Kubiš, who would visit Kyrgyzstan the following day. He said that he had been able to feel the tension in the air when he visited Kyrgyzstan over the past week, and he once more stressed the need to protect human rights and urged the parties to resolve their differences peacefully.
He was also asked about recent comments critical of the international community by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and responded that such rhetoric is not helpful or desirable at this time. He continues to expect full cooperation between Afghanistan and the international community.
The Secretary-General also met with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, with whom he discussed, among other topics, the Middle East peace process, non-proliferation, the Millennium Development Goals and climate change. They spoke to the press afterwards. The Secretary-General also met with Austrian President Heinz Fischer.
In the afternoon, the Secretary-General addressed the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Alluding to recent events in Kyrgyzstan, the Secretary-General said that “nothing better illustrates the need for the UN and the OSCE to work closely for a common cause”. He outlined five practical areas for such cooperation: disarmament and non-proliferation; securing peace; elections; environment and development; and human rights. (See Press Release SG/SM/12835)
Also that day, the Secretary-General spoke in the historic Debating Chamber of the Former House of Deputies in the Austrian Parliament organized by the Foreign Policy and United Nations Association of Austria.
On Friday and Saturday, the Secretary-General chaired a meeting of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), which brings together the heads of the United Nations system.
Mr. Ban returned to New York on Saturday, 10 April.