Minister for Foreign Affairs to visit New York and Washington
Mr. Dermot Ahern T. D., Minister for Foreign Affairs, will tomorrow begin a working visit to New York and Washington.
In New York, Minister Ahern will meet UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and other senior UN officials. He will also meet prominent representatives of the Irish Community and Irish immigration groups.
Minister Ahern and Secretary-General Annan will review prospects for the UN Summit next September on follow-up to the Millennium Summit and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The September Summit will also address the need for reforms to ensure a more effective and comprehensive approach to collective security. The Minister and the Secretary-General will also discuss the findings of the recent interim report of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the operation of the Iraq Oil for Food Programme, as well as a range of current international issues (including Darfur, Iraq and the Middle East Peace Process).
“With the issue of reform high on the UN agenda this year, I am looking forward to meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and taking up again the discussions we began in Ireland in October”, Minister Ahern said.
Minister Ahern's meetings in Washington will include discussions with senior figures in the Administration and in Congress to update them on recent developments in the peace process. The Minister will meet US Special Envoy Dr Mitchell Reiss, Congressional members of the Friends of Ireland, the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, the Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as a number of senior Senators including Senators Edward Kennedy, John McCain and Hillary Clinton.
“The Northern Ireland peace process has received enormous and invaluable support from successive US Administrations and in Congress over the years. This is, I think, an important time to brief a wide range of key contacts in New York and Washington – the friends and supporters of the peace process - on recent developments in Northern Ireland”, the Minister said.
Minister Ahern will hold discussions on international political developments and issues of particular bilateral interest, including immigration. The Minister will also discuss the response to the recent tsunami disaster with USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios.
Note for Editors:
Minister Ahern will discuss with UN Secretary-General the prospects for a successful outcome to the Summit taking place at the UN next September. The Summit will review the implementation of the Millennium Summit Declaration and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and seek to adopt reforms to the UN system of collective security. The Minister will also discuss with the Secretary-General the interim report, released on 3 February, of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the operation of the Iraq Oil for Food Programme, chaired by former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Mr. Paul Volcker. The interim report focuses on issues of procurement and on the role of Mr. Benon Sevan, the former Executive Director of the Office of the Iraq Programme, against whom disciplinary proceedings have already been instituted by the UN.
6 February 2005