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Ban Ki-moon in Greece

02 November 2009 / 01:11:57  GRReporter
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is arriving in the Greek capital in Wednesday to attend the meeting of the third World Forum on migration and development, taking place in Athens Music Hall. Representatives of over 130 governments and over 40 international and regional organizations will take part on the forum. The event will be opened by Georgoeos Papandreou- Greece’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, together with Ban. On Wednesday, November 4, Ban Ki-moon will attend a press-conference at the Music Hall, after which the UN Secretary-General will give a speech at the Greek parliament. Ban will visit the Acropolis Museum as well.

“Greece is a special for me. I have visited the country several times when I was Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Greece was one of the 16 countries that participated in the Korean War. It helped us defend our homeland. If it were not for that support and self-sacrifice, I would not be standing here right now; I would not have become UN’s Secretary-General. Besides, Greece is the mother of democracy,” shares Ban for “Katimerini.”

He emphasized on the importance of both Greece and Turkey’s membership in the UN and expressed his hope that the two countries will find a solution for the tension between them. The diplomat assessed Papandreou’s recent visit in Istanbul as a good-will act, and said he hoped that Greece’s improved relationships with Armenia served as a model for the country’s future relations with Turkey.

According to the current UN Secretary-General, his predecessor Kofi Annan did his nbest for Cyprus unification. “Today, we have reached a new level. I have appointed Alexander Downer as my personal representative in Cyprus; the leaders of the two communities met 45 times in one year. This is a significant success. It is time, however, to proceed to the next level of mutual understanding, flexibility and compromise. I may say I am a restrained optimist,” said Ban Ki-moon.

He noted that the pacific units of UN UNFICYP will stay in Cyprus as much as needed, depending on the course of the negotiations.

“Now, when we have a new, widely supported government in Greece, we are looking to a good chance to renew negotiations with Skopje. My personal representative Mathew Nimitz is working towards such an outcome without, however, any success so far,” added UN’s Secretary-General.


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