Minister Cowen to meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., will meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday, 28 January, in Brussels. Minister Cowen will brief the Secretary-General on Ireland's Presidency priorities, particularly the strengthening of EU support for the United Nations, and will discuss with him the implementation of the EU-UN Declaration on Cooperation in Crisis Management as signed last September. The Minister and the Secretary-General will also discuss peacekeeping, including Ireland's participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia, as well as issues such as Iraq and the Middle East.
On the following day, 29 January, Minister Cowen will represent the Council of the European Union at a ceremony at the European Parliament in which the President of the Parliament, Pat Cox, will present the Sakharov Prize to Secretary-General Annan.
Note for Editors:
Ireland's Presidency programme attaches priority to support for effective multilateralism and a strengthened UN. On 28 January the Minister will brief the Secretary-General on plans for the implementation of the European Security Strategy, including EU-UN cooperation in crisis management. A declaration on the latter subject was signed by the two sides on 24 September 2003 and calls for work to be brought forward on planning, training, communication and exchange of best practices. As well as peacekeeping, the Minister and the Secretary-General will discuss regional issues in which the UN is particularly concerned, such as Cyprus, the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.
472 members of the Defence Forces are currently serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL – United Nations Mission in Liberia).
Since 1988 the European Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to individuals and organizations that have devoted themselves to the defence of human rights and the struggle against injustice. In part years this prize has been awarded to Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, amongst others.
This year, the prize will be awarded to Secretary-General Annan and the entire UN staff, in particular to commemorate Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN Special Envoy to Iraq, and 23 others who died in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, and the many other UN staff who lost their lives during the performance of their duties in pursuit of world peace.