United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan, late on Monday, 29 November.
The following morning, the Secretary-General addressed an event on Women, Peace and Security in Central Asia. He told participants that he was especially impressed by the idea of creating a “Women’s Peace Corps” for the region — a comprehensive roster of female professionals, including peace negotiators, psychologists and social workers, who can help in areas torn by conflict. Calling it “an ambitious proposal”, the Secretary-General said he felt that such a roster could “generate a wave of progress that can reverberate across Central Asia”. (See Press Release SG/SM/13283)
He also met that morning with Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan. He and the President discussed the ongoing cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in reinforcing stability in Kyrgyzstan, among other topics. The Secretary-General told reporters afterwards that he commended the President’s cooperation and contribution to peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The Secretary-General also met that day with Rosa Otunbaeva, the President of Kyrgyzstan. The Secretary-General congratulated the President on the peaceful parliamentary elections in October and the important progress in strengthening democratic institutions in the country that should include the swift formation of a coalition Government. They also discussed the security situation in Kyrgyzstan and the importance of protecting the rights of refugees and reinforcing the rule of law there.
The Secretary-General held another meeting with Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Secretary General of OSCE. They discussed a range of topics, including the OSCE Summit, United Nations-OSCE cooperation and the protection of human rights, as well as a number of regional matters, including Kyrgyzstan, the South Caucasus, the Republic of Moldova and Afghanistan.
The Secretary-General was hosted to lunch on Tuesday by Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev.
Following a concert of artists of Kazakhstan at the Central Concert Hall, the Secretary-General held a meeting with the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. The Secretary-General thanked the President for Ukraine’s helping to provide a “UN House” to accommodate all United Nations agencies in Ukraine from 2011, and also for its contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Mr. Ban asked the President to consider further possible contributions, notably helicopters, for MONUSCO, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On Wednesday, the Secretary-General participated in the Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
He told the leaders gathered for the Summit that the events in Kyrgyzstan this year showed what the United Nations and OSCE could do together, as they joined forces with other regional groups to provide timely and coherent support to the people of Kyrgyzstan at a critical moment. (See Press Release SG/SM/13285)
In Afghanistan, the Secretary-General said, we face another test. We will need to collaborate closely to ensure that the transition process is sustainable and irreversible. This will mean making a long-term commitment to capacity- and institution-building.
On the sidelines of the Summit that day, the Secretary-General had separate bilateral meetings with President Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania; Prime Minister François Fillon of France; Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands; Deputy Prime Minister Nicholas Clegg of the United Kingdom; Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, Kim Sung-hwan; and with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States.
The Secretary-General arrived back in New York early on Thursday morning, 2 December.