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SG/T/2249
26 September 2000

SECRETARY-GENERAL"S TRIP TO GENEVA, STRASBOURG, PARIS AND BRUSSELS, 30 SEPTEMBERû6 OCTOBER

The Secretary-General will leave New York on 30 September for an official trip to Switzerland, France and Belgium.

He will first travel to Geneva where, on 2 October, he will participate in a meeting of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at which the High Commissioner, Sadako Ogata, will deliver her farewell address. That afternoon, the Secretary-General will address the staff of the UNHCR on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the agency, paying tribute to their dedication and sacrifice to the cause of refugee assistance. While in Geneva he will also meet with the senior management of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and with the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC).

On 3 October, the Secretary-General will travel to France. He will first go to Strasbourg to visit the Council of Europe for talks with the Council’s Secretary-General Walter Schwimmer, Parliamentary Assembly President Lord Russell-Johnston and the Committee of Ministers at the deputies level.

Also in Strasbourg, the Secretary-General will meet with officials from the European Union, notably European Commission President Romano Prodi and other European Commission commissioners.

From there, the Secretary-General will fly to Paris to meet with French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine. France currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

The Secretary-General will then go to Brussels on 5 October for a meeting with Javier Solana, the European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.

The Secretary-General’s talks with European officials will centre on the European Union’s desire to develop a closer working relationship with the United Nations. This will require the creation of a mechanism for coordination between the two, especially in the fields of crisis management as well as humanitarian assistance and development.

Also in Brussels, the Secretary-General will go to the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), where he will see Lord Robertson, NATO’s Secretary-General. Their discussions will most likely focus on Kosovo, where a United Nations peace mission operates in tandem with a NATO contingent.

Before returning to New York on 6 October, the Secretary-General will meet with Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium.

For information media. Not an official record.