/ 13 September 2007

Mbeki to lead SA delegation to UN

President Thabo Mbeki will lead the South African delegation to the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which starts in New York next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday

Speaking in Pretoria, ambassador George Nene, head of the multilateral section in the department, said several issues would be discussed, the most important being global climate change.

”Developing countries and African countries in particular might face bigger challenges in respect of climate change — we believe this global challenge needs a global approach if it is to be addressed properly,” Nene said.

But while these issues are being discussed in the General Assembly there will also be several meetings happening on the fringes of the gathering. Mbeki’s office is currently finalising several meetings with various world leaders.

One would be a meeting with the new president of the UN General Assembly, Srgjan Kerim from Macedonia.

On the agenda for that meeting would be continuous support by the UN for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the reform of the UN.

”We hope the incoming president of the General Assembly would also put the reform issue, not aside, but as one of his serious issues,” Nene said.

Mbeki would also attend a summit in New York arranged by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy for UN Security Council member countries to discuss peace and security issues in Africa.

He did not want to give details of Mbeki’s other planned meetings until they were finalised. — Sapa