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Tánaiste to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban and address the United Nations General Assembly

United Nations, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Press Releases, North America, 2013

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York later today to discuss issues including the ongoing conflict in Syria and the Middle East peace process.

The meeting takes place ahead of the Tánaiste’s address to the 68th General Assembly of the UN, during which he will welcome the significant progress made in recent days on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons:

“While it has taken much longer than we all would have wished, I welcome the decisive action the Security Council is now taking on Syria.

This resolution marks a watershed in the international community’s engagement on the crisis. It offers renewed hope and confidence that the UN is capable of discharging its responsibilities and meeting the expectations of the peoples of the world.”

The Tánaiste will also highlight Ireland’s contribution on Syria, noting the deployment this week of Irish troops to the UN mission in the Golan Heights, Ireland’s humanitarian support for victims of the conflict of €11 million, and funding for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (€200,000).

Referring to other recent developments in the Middle East, the Tánaiste will acknowledge the efforts underway in direct Israeli-Palestinian talks and the new tone adopted by Iran in addressing the concerns of the international community in relation to the country’s nuclear programme.

Earlier this week the Tánaiste co-chaired a major event on the Millennium Development Goals which looked to map out the future of the €130 billion worldwide development aid effort beyond 2015. In his meeting today, the Tánaiste will urge Secretary General Ban to make ending extreme poverty within a generation a priority for the UN.

“Around the globe, 870 million people – almost 200 times the entire population of Ireland – are living in extreme poverty and hunger,” he will tell the General Assembly during his address.

“Reversing [this] and creating a better future for the countless millions of impoverished people on our planet is, perhaps, the greatest moral and practical challenge we face today.”

The Tánaiste will also set out Ireland’s achievements as a member of the Human Rights Council in Geneva and offer support for Secretary General Ban’s global campaign for LGBT rights.