26 February 2013

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Heinz Fischer, the Federal President of the Republic of Austria

The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Mr. Heinz Fischer, the Federal President of the Republic of Austria.

The Secretary-General thanked the President and the Austrian Government for hosting the Fifth Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. He also expressed his gratitude for Austria’s contribution to the United Nations, notably to its peacekeeping operations, including in the Middle East.

The Secretary-General and the President discussed the situations in Syria, Mali, the Sahel and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as well as Iran and the Middle East Peace Process.

On Syria, the Secretary-General underscored his belief that the only solution to the crisis was through political dialogue. He said recent expressions from both parties of a willingness to talk should be encouraged by the international community. On the humanitarian front, the Secretary-General said the United Nations was continuing its work in Syria and neighbouring countries. He said the recent Kuwait pledging conference had been a success and that the emphasis was now on ensuring the funds are made available as soon as possible.

The Secretary-General briefed the President on his just-concluded trip to Addis Ababa, where he witnessed the signing of a new Framework Agreement by the President of the DRC and other regional leaders.