United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Lima, Peru, on Monday night, 14 February, following an official visit to Ecuador. The visit to Peru was the first made by Mr. Ban since becoming Secretary-General.
On Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General met with President Alan García and his Foreign Minister, José Antonio García Belaunde. They had wide-ranging talks on regional and international issues, during which they discussed, among other topics, the Millennium Development Goals, efforts to deal with global arms expenditures, climate change, Peru’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping, including in Haiti, and the situation in the Middle East.
After that, the Secretary-General and President García held a joint press conference. The Secretary-General said that Peru has seen significant progress over the past decade in consolidating democracy and in attaining the Millennium Development Goals. The challenge now, he said, is to spread these gains equally to all of the most vulnerable people, particularly in rural areas, where the majority of the indigenous peoples live.
Later in the morning, the Secretary-General met with Susana Villaran, the Mayor of Lima, who discussed with him the efforts to improve the quality of life in the capital city, as well as the effects of climate change. The Mayor presented the Secretary-General with the honour of being a Huésped Ilustre, or “Distinguished Guest”. In that ceremony, the Secretary-General said that Lima is one of Latin America’s major cities and is also a vibrant modern capital, ready to embrace the future.
The Secretary-General then visited the UN House in Peru, where all the work of the United Nations system in the country is consolidated. The UN House is located on the grounds of a former orphanage for the children who lost their parents during the long fight against Sendero Luminoso rebels.
The Secretary-General met with United Nations staff in Peru in a town hall meeting, and also talked to the senior United Nations officials in the country.
While at the UN House, the Secretary-General paid a courtesy call to Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations and a distinguished Peruvian politician.
Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar accompanied the Secretary-General to the Main National University of San Marcos, where Secretary-General Ban delivered an address and received an honorary doctorate.
In his speech to the students at San Marcos, the Secretary-General praised his predecessor, noting that Javier Pérez de Cuéllar had stayed in his office until his term expired on New Year’s Eve in a successful effort to reach an agreement to stop the conflict in El Salvador. (See Press Release SG/SM/13404)
The Secretary-General also spoke of the need to find a more sustainable way of living and to empower different groups in society.
In the evening, the Secretary-General was awarded the “Gran Cruz” degree by President García in recognition of his distinguished services.
After a dinner in his honour, the Secretary-General left Lima to return to New York, arriving on Wednesday morning, 16 February.