United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon departed New York on Wednesday, 15 May, for a visit to the Russian Federation. He flew first to Sochi, on the Russian Federation’s Black Sea coast, where he arrived late in the afternoon on Thursday, 16 May, after a transfer in Moscow.
On Friday morning, the Secretary-General met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for talks that focused on Syria but also covered a wide range of topics, including the Middle East Peace Process, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Central Asia, change management at the United Nations and climate change.
After their talks, the Secretary-General and the Minister held a joint press encounter at which the Secretary-General said he was grateful for the Russian Federation’s many contributions to the United Nations and trusted they would continue to be enhanced, notably in peacekeeping operations. He also welcomed the Russian Federation’s participation in the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review. They continued their conversation over a working lunch, during which they discussed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, the responsibility to protect, the Central African Republic, the Sahel and Mali, and the Russian Federation’s presidency of the Group of 20.
Next the Secretary-General held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Residence at Bocharov Ruchei.
They discussed Syria at length. They also discussed developments in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The meeting also covered climate change and sustainable development, including in the context of the Group of 20. The Secretary-General also expressed appreciation for Russian Federation’s support for peacekeeping operations.
The Secretary-General spoke to the press at the beginning of their meeting.
The next morning, Saturday, the Secretary-General visited School Number 9 in Sochi, where he met children who are studying about the Black Sea region and the environment with help from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
That afternoon, the Secretary-General flew to Moscow where he first met the United Nations country team and then the same evening visited the renovated Bolshoi Theatre and attended an opera performance.
On Sunday, 19 May, the Secretary-General visited the headquarters of RIA Novosti, a Russian news agency. He toured the newsrooms, took part in a webcast conversation about social justice for people living with disabilities and met a number of journalists.
The Secretary-General then transferred to a police training centre at Domodedovo outside Moscow where police officers from around the world receive advanced training in countering terrorism, extremism and drugs trafficking and dealing with migration and transport
Late in the afternoon the same day, the Secretary-General left for Mozambique on flights that took him first to London, then Johannesburg and finally Maputo, where he arrived on the morning of Monday, 20 May.