Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN SWITZERLAND, 28-31 JANUARY
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Davos from Madrid in the early evening of Wednesday, 28 January.
He met that evening with Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. They discussed climate change and the Middle East peace process.
On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General announced an appeal for $613 million to cover the immediate recovery needs of the people of Gaza for the next six to nine months. In a joint press conference with Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, the Secretary-General said “help is urgently needed”, including food, clean water, shelter, medicine and the restoration of basic services. He told reporters: “When I saw the people in Gaza, the destruction and severity of the challenges were beyond description.” He urged the international community to contribute generously to the appeal and stressed the need for a durable ceasefire and for a viable peace process.
He was asked about the violence reported over the past few days in Gaza, and replied: “The incident which took place two days ago clearly shows us that this ceasefire is very fragile. Therefore, this ceasefire must be translated into a durable and sustainable one, which can be respected by all the parties concerned.”
Later that day, the Secretary-General raised the same points when he participated in a plenary session of the World Economic Forum on “ Gaza, the case for Middle-East peace” with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Amre Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States.
In his next meeting, with Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, the Secretary-General received an update on the prospects for concluding the Doha Round of trade talks in 2009. The Secretary-General and the Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, Tony Blair, also met that day to discuss how best to make progress in the Middle East peace process; first in making sure that humanitarian and early recovery needs are met, and then laying the ground for a durable ceasefire acceptable to both sides. They discussed long-term reconstruction in Gaza and a political resolution of the Middle East conflict. The Secretary-General also met with Bill and Melinda Gates to discuss global health, particularly polio eradication, the Millennium Development Goals and the issue of food security.
The Secretary-General departed Davos for Zurich that evening and left Switzerland early on Saturday morning.
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For information media • not an official record