United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon‑taek, arrived in Rome from New York around noon on Wednesday, 1 June.
He met there with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. The topics discussed included Libya, Somalia, Lebanon, the Middle East, North Africa and nuclear safety.
He also addressed an international conference on the “inter-ethnic city”. He noted that we live in a world where, too often, division sells. But there is a growing realization that cities and communities do best when everyone has a chance to give their potential. The Secretary-General called for a deeper commitment to the common values of inclusion and social acceptance, education and understanding. (See Press Release SG/SM/13609)
Mr. Ban also took part in events in Rome to mark the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. On Thursday morning, he attended a military parade along with many foreign dignitaries.
While in Rome, the Secretary-General met with the Heads of United Nations Agencies based in the city — Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), and Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He also visited the gallery and museum at the Villa Borghese.
On Thursday evening, he attended an official dinner, at which he offered a toast on behalf of the international community. He highlighted Italy’s strong support for the United Nations and its whole agenda, from development and human rights to peace and security. He also paid tribute to Italy’s contribution to art and culture. (See Press Release SG/SM/13616)
The Secretary-General left Rome the following morning and arrived in New York that afternoon.