29 March 2010

Activities of Secretary-General in Russian Federation, 17-19 March

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Moscow in the evening of 17 March after an overnight flight from New York and a brief stopover in Frankfurt.

On arrival in Moscow, the Secretary-General attended a dinner hosted by Frode Mauring, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Zurab Tsereteli, a noted sculptor and artist, at the artist’s gallery in central Moscow.

On 18 March, the Secretary-General started the day with two wide-ranging interviews ‑‑ one with Alexei Venediktov, Editor-in-Chief of Ekho Moskvy radio station, and one with anchorwoman Irina Rossius of Russia 24, a television news channel.  In those interviews, the Secretary-General outlined the bilateral aspects of his visit to Moscow and the Quartet meeting on the Middle East.

The Secretary-General then held talks at the Russian Federation’s Foreign Ministry mansion with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other Russian officials.  At a press conference afterwards, the Secretary-General commended Minister Lavrov for convening the Quartet meeting and said he was encouraged by the status of Russian Federation-United States talks on nuclear arms control.

The Secretary-General also signed a joint declaration with the Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).  That declaration is aimed at pragmatic and targeted cooperation between the organizations, the United Nations Secretary-General said.

Next, the Secretary-General headed to the Kremlin for a working luncheon with President Dmitry Medvedev.  They discussed the Middle East, arms control, Haiti, Iran and other topics, including cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United Nations.  After the luncheon, the Secretary-General made a brief stop for a walk across Red Square, accompanied by officials including Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

The Secretary-General then went to MGIMO University, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Moscow State Institute of International Relations, where he received an enthusiastic welcome from students.  He had a brief meeting with the rector of MGIMO, Anatoly Torkunov, who also chairs the United Nations Association of the Russian Federation.  The Secretary-General then delivered a lecture to the students after receiving an honorary doctorate.  In his address, which was televised, the Secretary-General urged students to aim high and to strive to be global citizens.  (See Press Release SG/SM/12796.)  He answered several questions from the university’s multinational student body.

After a meeting with the United Nations country team, the Secretary-General attended a dinner with the other principal members of the Quartet and had a bilateral meeting with Tony Blair, the Quartet Representative.

On 19 March, the Secretary-General took part in the Quartet meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Catharine Ashton, a Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, and Quartet Representative Blair.  After the meeting, the Secretary-General read a statement on behalf of the Quartet.  He noted that Israel had approved a package of United Nations humanitarian projects to be carried out in Gaza.  (See Press Release SG/2158.)

The Secretary-General then held a round-table luncheon with a group of senior editors and journalists from Russian media.  He also held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff before heading to the airport to fly to the Middle East via Vienna.

For information media. Not an official record.