Mukherjee meets UN chief, General Assembly president

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United Nations, Oct 2 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has held bilateral meetings with president of the 63rd UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Foreign Ministers Rohitha Bogollogama (Sri Lanka) and Upendra Yadav (Nepal).

All the meetings were conducted yesterday as part of Mr Mukherjee's visit to the United Nations and New York.

In his meeting with the Minister, the president of the General Assembly recalled his longstanding admiration of Mahatma Gandhi and his principle of nonviolence.

Discussions included an overview of contemporary issues. Mr Mukherjee renewed his invitation to the president to visit India as early as he could.

The United Nations observes October 2, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, as International Day of Non-violence. Last year the first such day was held. On that occasion Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the ruling coalition at the Centre, addressed the United Nations.

In his parleys with the UN chief, Mr Mukherjee focused on such issues as climate change and food security. The UN chief on his part appreciated India's longstanding support to the global body's peacekeeping operations.

The discussions with Sri Lanka centered on that country's provincial elections and the recent incidents involving Indian fishermen in the maritime boundary. Both sides agreed to direct the departments concerned for evolving a mechanism to resolve such issues.

Mr Yadav briefed Mr Mukherjee on drafting a new Constitution for Nepal. The floods caused as a result of the damage to the Kosi barrage also figured briefly in the discussions. Mr Mukherjee restated India's willingness to help Nepal on any issue that was of mutual concern.

UNI XC RJ CS1627

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