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General Assembly Pres Kerim Begins L. America Tour

United Nations General Assembly President to begin three-country Latin American tour

28 July 2008 - General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim travels tonight to Latin America for a three-country visit that will focus on issues ranging from climate change and financing for development to counter-terrorism efforts and advancing reform of the United Nations.

Mr. Kerim heads first to Chile for two days of talks in Santiago with senior Government officials, including President Michelle Bachelet. He will also meet representatives of the UN country team and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which is headquartered in the Chilean capital.

The Assembly President then travels to Buenos Aires for a two-day visit to Argentina, where he is slated to meet Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, the presidents of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies and members of the UN country team.

The final leg will be in Brazil, where Mr. Kerim is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, the UN country team and senior industrialists and business figures during stops in São Paulo and Brasilia.

Mr. Kerim's spokesperson said the focus of the tour will be the priority issues of the current Assembly session, which include climate change, fighting terrorism, UN reform, financing for development and boosting efforts towards achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The President said it was particularly important to strengthen the involvement of Latin American countries in the Assembly's work given that the next president, due to succeed Mr. Kerim in September, will be Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua.

"The General Assembly is the UN body that gives strategic direction and has the unique advantage to negotiate broad political consensus when it comes to global issues such as climate change or the global food crisis," Mr. Kerim said. "It is also important to secure concrete commitment and active involvement of all major regions and of every Member State. This is why visits to individual countries are very important to our work."

ENDS

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