FW: Foreign pool report: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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From: Philip Crowther [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 4, 2015 12:42 PM
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Subject: Foreign pool report: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Today in the Oval Office, the visit of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Disappointingly, no mention of the President's birthday. Black suits, burgundy tie for Obama, light blue tie for Ban.

I'll concentrate here on the UN view of the meeting.

First though, a few quotes from President Obama, to be checked against the upcoming transcript.

"The burdens on the United Nations have never been greater." "At the top of our list: the urgency of a response to the threat of climate change." "We need the Paris summit to be a success."

They discussed "a range of regional issues", including humanitarian assistance in Syria, an end to the conflict in Yemen, "modest progress in Libya", and South Sudan.

Ban followed the President's remarks by hailing an "extremely constructive meeting" and spoke to the President's recent "extraordinary diplomatic achievements", mentioning the Iran nuclear deal, the normalization of ties with Cuba, and the "successful visit to Africa".

Climate change: "I highly commend President Obama's strong commitment" to climate change and his "visionary and bold leadership".

"The Clean Power Plan powers economies and generates jobs. It generates huge dividends here at home."

On the Paris US climate summit at the end of the year: Ban says he is "working very closely with President Hollande" and with Chancellor Merkel (as the head of the G-7).

Also: "this is a top priority. We have agreed on a set 17 sustainable development goals." To the President: "We really count on your strong support."

More quotes:

"We are completely on the same page on Syrian issues."

"On Yemen, there is no military solution. There is only a solution by political way, by dialogue. 80% of the population is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance."

Ban also said he commends "President Obama's leadership on South Sudan." His meeting on South Sudan in Africa "made a big impact."

Also in the Oval Office today, the whole 8-person strong delegation from the SG's office:

Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning Susanna Malcorra, Chief of Staff (officially Chef de Cabinet) Janos Pasztor, special advisor on climate change (officially UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change) Robert Orr, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Strategic Planning Edmond Mulet, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Andrew Gilmour, Political Director Chang Wook-jin, Special Assistant Stéphane Dujarric, UN spokesperson

On the US side, closest to the President, VP Biden and UN Ambassador Samantha Power (chatting during remarks at one point). at the back of the room, with the UN delegation, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Ban Ki-moon arrived in Washington this morning and has no further official functions on his schedule, just a private lunch before the delegation's return to New York.

Philip Crowther
France 24 White House / Washington correspondent

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