UN chief to visit Europe, Africa

United Nations, Feb 27 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel next week to Geneva and Madrid and then to Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Algeria, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said here.

“He will also designate the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, led by UN Messenger of Peace Daniel Barenboim, as a United Nations Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding,” the spokesman said on Friday, adding the orchestra brings together young musicians from Israel, Palestine and several Arab countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

On Monday in Geneva, the secretary-general will address the UN Human Rights Council on the first day of its 31st session, Dujarric said at a daily news briefing.

Also in Geneva, Ban will inaugurate the Russian Room at the Palais des Nations with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. He will also meet a number of non-governmental organisations.

On Tuesday, the secretary-general will travel to Madrid, Spain, where he will meet senior Spanish government officials. On March 2, Ban will go to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

On Thursday, the UN chief will meet with the senior government officials and visit a UN project.

On Friday, the secretary-general will travel to Nouakchott, Mauritania, where he will meet the government leaders and deliver a key note speech on peace and security in the Sahel region, and also visit a UN project.

From Mauritania, Ban will then travel to Tindouf, Algeria to visit a nearby Sahrawi refugee camp. He will meet Mohamed Abdelaziz, the secretary-general of the Frente Polisario in Rabouni.

Ban will also meet with UN staff working in the area. From there, he will visit the Bir Lahlou team site of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Finally, on Sunday and Monday, the secretary-general will be in Algiers to meet senior government officials, Dujarric said.

“During his visit to Algiers, the secretary-general is also expected to open the 5th General Assembly of the Kigali International Conference on the role of security forces in combating violence against women and girls, and give a speech to university students,” the spokesman added.

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