29/06/2009

EU Secretary To Visit Ireland

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will make an official visit to Ireland on July 7th and 8th, it has been announced

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said he was delighted Mr Ban was visiting Ireland.

The secretary general, who recently replaced the popular outgoing Kofi Anan, will meet President McAleese with Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who will host a working lunch in Government Buildings on July 7th.

Mr Martin will also hold discussions with the secretary general and host a dinner in his honour on the same day.

Mr Ban, who is known as 'the Bureaucrat' for his diplomatic style of leadership and unmatched work ethic, has also been invited by the Institute for International and European Affairs to deliver an address on United Nations peace-keeping during the course of his visit.

He will also meet with the Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea and with the Army Chief of Staff to discuss Irish participation in UN-mandated peace operations.

Mr Martin said: "For Ireland, commitment to the United Nations has long been a cornerstone of our foreign policy and we remain strongly supportive of its role and work in areas such as peace-keeping, disarmament, development and humanitarian action.

"Since assuming office in January 2007, [Mr] Ban has provided wise leadership to the United Nations, particularly in relation to such important global challenges as climate change."

It is expected the meetings will also feature the forthcoming second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty that could see sweeping changes in the workings of the EU.

(DW/BMcc)

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