United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Paris from Addis Ababa in the morning of Thursday, 26 May. Madam Ban Soon-taek joined him upon arrival.
At the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), he first met with Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, and then attended a lunch for the members of the High-Level Panel on Girls and Women’s Education for Empowerment and Gender Equality.
Later, the Secretary-General addressed the launch of the UNESCO Global Partnership for Girl's and Women's Education and its High-Level Panel, along with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Director-General of UNESCO. The Secretary-General said that investing in education for women and girls enriches them while creating a more productive workforce. Education provides the fuel to ignite global progress, he added. (See Press Release SG/SM/13600)
The Secretary-General then travelled to Deauville to take part in the G-8 Summit and meet with several leaders attending the outreach programme of the Summit.
On the margins of the Summit, on Thursday, 26 May, the Secretary-General held discussions with Mahmadou Issoufou, President of Niger; Alain Juppé, Foreign Minister of France; Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; Essam Sharaf, Prime Minister of Egypt; and Beji Caid-Essebsi, Prime Minister of Tunisia.
With the President of Niger, the Secretary-General discussed the United Nations partnership with the country in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and particularly Goal 1 on extreme poverty and hunger. They also discussed the issue of the return of nationals Niger who fled the conflicts in Côte d'Ivoire and Libya.
The Secretary-General and the French Foreign Minister discussed the situation in Côte d'Ivoire and welcomed President Alassane Ouattara's commitment to work towards national reconciliation. On Syria, the Secretary-General noted the need for immediate actions by the Government to address the concerns of the Syrian people. They also discussed Libya, including the ongoing deliberations of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, as well as the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Abdul Ilah Al-Khatib, to work with the parties in order to define the elements of a political transition. On the Middle East, the Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister talked about the next steps of the peace process and the Quartet’s support in that regard.
The Secretary-General also discussed the situation in Libya and the Middle East peace process in his conversation with the Secretary-General of the League Arab States. They also exchanged views on the situation in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.
In his meeting with the Prime Minister of Egypt, the Secretary-General reiterated the United Nations readiness to assist the country in the forthcoming milestones of its political transition, including elections. They also discussed the link between Egypt’s economic development and political stability.
The Secretary-General and the Prime Minister of Tunisia discussed the upcoming elections in the country. The Secretary-General commended the Government for the decisive measures it has taken to hold these elections in a free and transparent manner. He also stressed the importance of the international community’s continued support to Tunisia in this transition period. They also discussed the effects of the Libyan crisis on Tunisia.
On Friday, 27 May, at the G-8 Summit, the Secretary-General participated in discussions on unfolding events in North Africa and the Middle East, African regional crises, and development.
On North Africa and the Middle East, the Secretary-General emphasized that the international community must act with unity and in a consistent and coordinated manner. He urged increased support for humanitarian assistance, both for affected populations in Libya and in neighbouring countries. The Secretary-General also spoke about the Middle East peace process. He urged the international community to act urgently together to push the process, building on the vision as laid out by United States President Barack Obama, and asked the directly concerned parties to seize the moment and take risks for peace. On African regional crises, the Secretary-General spoke on Côte d’Ivoire, Somalia and Sudan.
The Secretary-General’s final intervention at the G-8 Summit covered development issues. Here, he stressed four areas — women’s and children’s health, climate change and energy, food and nutrition security, and Rio 2012 and sustainable development. The Secretary-General emphasized that the timely investment could generate significant gains for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and the global economy.
The Secretary-General left Deauville on the afternoon of 27 May to return to New York.