United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by his wife Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday morning, 2 March. He travelled directly to Mont-Pèlerin to attend the tenth annual seminar of the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General.
Early on Monday, 3 March, he returned to Geneva to participate in the opening of the High-Level Segment of the twenty-fifth session of the Human Rights Council. In his speech to the Council, he said that the Council’s role for accountability and to put an end to impunity is critical. He also called for the promotion of international human rights norms and principles into development. (See Press Release SG/SM/15680.)
The Secretary-General then held a meeting with the President of Tunisia, Moncef Marzouki, in which they discussed the adoption of the new Constitution in the country and the upcoming elections, as well as the economic and social situation.
After a meeting with the heads of United Nations agencies present in Geneva, the Secretary-General held a press conference at the Palais des Nations. He said that he had asked United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and had had phone conversations about the situations in Ukraine with the President of France, the High Representative of the European Union, the President of Switzerland and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Chairperson-in-Office and the OSCE Secretary-General. With all of them, he said he had underscored the shared responsibility to assist in finding a peaceful resolution in Ukraine.
The Secretary-General then inaugurated a photographic exhibition to mark World Wildlife Day, which is celebrated on 3 March. He said that it was important to raise awareness, not just about the value of wildlife, but its sad decline in our modern world. (See Press Release SG/SM/15681.)
The Secretary-General then had a bilateral meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. They discussed the crisis in Ukraine and the importance of de-escalating the situation by engaging in constructive and meaningful dialogue. That meeting was followed by a lunch hosted by Foreign Minister Lavrov with the heads of United Nations agencies in Geneva.
In the afternoon, after meeting with Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General held discussions with: a group of human rights non-governmental organizations; Eladio Loizaga Lezcano, Minister for External Relations of Paraguay; Elías José Jaua Milano, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Dunya Maumoon, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Maldives; and Mireya Agüero de Corrales, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Karla Cuevas, Vice-Minister for Human Rights, of Honduras. In the evening, he attended a dinner hosted in his honour by Baudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council, with the participation of members of the Bureau of the Human Rights Council.
The next day, Tuesday, 4 March, the Secretary-General held discussions with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany. They discussed the latest developments in Ukraine, as well as the situation in Lebanon, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the Secretary-General’s forthcoming visit to Sierra Leone.
Later that morning, the Secretary-General, with his wife Ban Soon-taek, left Switzerland for Sierra Leone.