United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Baghdad early on the morning of Thursday, 29 March, on a flight from Kuwait. The main purpose of the visit was to attend the League of Arab States Summit.
On arrival, the Secretary-General met the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, at the airport.
The Secretary-General then travelled into Baghdad, where he first met the Speaker of the Council of Representatives (parliament), Osama al-Nujaifi, at the parliament building.
The Secretary-General next met the President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, at the presidential palace.
He then had bilateral meetings with the President of Tunisia, Moncef Mazouki, the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil el-Araby.
In his remarks to the Summit, he said the event being held in Baghdad clearly shows Iraq is regaining its place in the Arab world and the wider international community.
The Secretary-General noted this is the Arab League’s first summit since the remarkable series of events that have transformed the Arab region. He said the lessons were eloquent and clear. The winds of change will not cease to blow. He said that for decades the people of the Arab world have seen tyrannies topple and democracies emerge in Europe, Asia and Africa. Now they see it is their time. (See Press Release SG/SM/14197.)
Early that evening, the Secretary-General met the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nuri Kamel al-Maliki.
Before leaving Baghdad, the Secretary-General visited United Nations staff in their living compound. He praised their work for the Iraqi people under difficult circumstances. He also inaugurated a new website for the United Nations Mission, UNAMI.
The Secretary-General left Baghdad that evening, flying first to Dubai and then on to New York, where he arrived on the morning of Friday, 30 March.