United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived early on Wednesday in Vienna from New York for his last overseas trip before he would leave office at the end of December.
The Secretary-General was hosted to a working lunch by the Foreign Minister of Austria, Sebastian Kurz. Following the lunch, the Secretary-General and Minister Kurz held a joint press encounter. The Secretary-General expressed his deep appreciation for Austria’s partnership with the United Nations to promote peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.
He added that they had also touched upon the cooperation between the United Nations and Austria in addressing some of the most pressing issues on the international agenda, including the large movement of refugees and migrants.
While at the Foreign Ministry the Secretary-General also met with the President-elect of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen. The Secretary-General congratulated the President-elect and said that the United Nations looks forward to working with him. Foreign Minister Kurz also attended that meeting.
The Secretary-General also had a separate meeting with his Special Envoy on Youth Employment, Werner Faymann, at the Foreign Ministry.
The Secretary-General visited the Vienna International Centre, the UN’s home in Vienna, to bid farewell to the United Nations staff in Vienna. He said he was proud of their work and commitment to peace, security and development.
The Secretary-General and Madam Ban attended a private dinner in their honour hosted by Heinz Fischer, former President of Austria, and his wife, Margit.
On Thursday, the Secretary-General visited the Habibi and Hawara Restaurant in Vienna which serves Austrian and Arab cuisine. Opened in 2016, it is run by a team of refugees and Austrians, aiming to help refugees become independent entrepreneurs.
In remarks delivered there, the Secretary-General highlighted the UN’s global campaign that aims to change negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, and to strengthen the social contract between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants.
The Secretary-General thanked the Austrian people and Governments for the warm hearts they showed as they welcome refugees and migrants. Refugees, the Secretary-General said, do not come with problems, they come with opportunities. (See Press Release SG/SM/18343.)
Before leaving Vienna on Friday to return to New York, the Secretary-General spoke at a ceremony to congratulate the recipients of the Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani Anti-Corruption Excellence Award. That event took place in conjunction with International Anti-Corruption Day. In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that corruption is a strangling root that reaches deep into all our societies, and it chokes hopes and frustrates opportunities for all the people. (See Press Release SG/SM/18346.)
The Secretary-General also met with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, and discussed anti-corruption efforts with him. They also discussed developments in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Mr. Ban arrived back in New York on Friday night.