UN chief to attend Geneva meeting

16th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Ban Ki-moon travels to the Americas and Europe for conferences on international relations, racism, and finance.

UNITED NATIONS - UN chief Ban Ki-moon leaves this week to join a summit of the Americas in Trinidad before heading to Europe to attend a conference on racism in Geneva and a donors conference on Somalia, his press office said Wednesday.

Ban is also to pay an official visit to Malta.

The UN secretary general will be in Port-Au-Spain for the fifth Summit of the Americas, which opens on Friday and aims to focus on relations between the United States and Latin America and the global financial crisis.

Ban was next to head to Geneva Monday to take part in a controversial conference against racism.

The five-day conference is due to review progress in fighting racism and xenophobia since the first gathering in South Africa in 2001.

The United States and Israel walked out of the 2001 conference amid charges that it became a forum for anti-Semitism, and preparations for the Geneva meeting were hurt by a similar dispute in recent months.

Several Western states threatened to boycott the meeting in an argument over the wording of a draft declaration, especially those referring to Israel.

However, on Wednesday, negotiators released another version of the text, which was revised several times in order to avoid a walkout.

The UN boss was to visit Valletta Tuesday and Wednesday before traveling to Brussels to organise a ministerial donors conference on Somalia.

The conference, scheduled for 23 April, is jointly sponsored by the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union.

AFP / Expatica

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