Ban Ki-moon thanks Calmy-Rey

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has paid tribute to Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey for being a “strong leader at the heart of the UN”.

This content was published on October 17, 2011 - 14:50 and agencies

Ban said on Monday he planned to appoint Calmy-Rey to an unspecified UN role after she retires from Swiss politics at the end of the year. She is one of 22 leaders serving on Ban’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, a top priority in his second five-year term that starts in January.

“I will miss your presence, but I’m sure your engagement in world affairs will continue,” Ban told her. “The United Nations will look forward to working with you, fully utilising your expertise and wisdom.”

He thanked Switzerland for donating SFr50 million ($55 million) to improve UN European headquarters and agencies in Geneva.

Ban also said he understood the spreading Occupy Wall Street movement, given the frustration that financial crises are causing. Up to 1,000 protestors took over Zurich’s Paradeplatz, the symbolic heart of the Swiss banking industry, on Saturday.

Ban told reporters that the finance chiefs from the Group of 20 rich and developing nations should listen to the people and come up with “actionable plans” to fix the problems.

On Sunday, Ban and Calmy-Rey opened the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s 125th general assembly of global lawmakers in Bern.

Ban also took a helicopter ride over the Bernese Alps to see first-hand some of the nation’s fast-retreating glaciers. Scientists largely blame the retreat on rising global temperatures from fossil fuel-burning.

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