15 October 2008


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Geneva in the morning of Tuesday, 14 October.

He had a working lunch with the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Supachai Panitchpakdi.  Earlier, he met with his Special Representative for Georgia, Johan Verbeke.   In the afternoon, the Secretary-General also met with Ambassador Pierre Morel, Special Representative of the European Union for Georgia, and Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The Secretary-General also visited the headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where he underlined the “critical importance to the United Nations as a whole” of UNHCR leadership in “hot spots”, and drew linkages between areas of priority commitment for the United Nations and UNHCR, including the impacts of climate change, the food crisis and the financial crisis on the situation of the world’s refugees and displaced persons.

Later in the day, the Secretary-General met with Bernard Kouchner, French Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Javier Solana, European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.  In the evening, he attended a working dinner on Georgia and took part in a press briefing afterwards, organized by the European Union Presidency.

Following a short statement in French by Mr. Kouchner, the Secretary-General answered a question on whether it was possible to compare the situation in Kosovo with that in Georgia.  Mr. Ban noted that it was important to look at the historical and political backgrounds of the two situations.  He also explained the United Nations role in the region, in particular in Abkhazia since 1993, putting the current talks in the context of developments and an ongoing process, and underscored that the United Nations role right now was to facilitate international dialogue.

The Secretary-General also met on Tuesday with Djibril Bassolé, joint African Union-United Nations Chief Mediator for Darfur.

The Secretary-General left Geneva for New York on Wednesday morning.

For information media. Not an official record.