Zuma heads to New York

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will later today leave for New York, to attend the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, President Zuma is expected to address the 192 member body on various issues and problems confronting the world.

The General Debate of the 64th session, which will take place on 23 to 26 and 28 to 30 September, presents an opportunity for Heads of State and Government to interact on global issues that confront the international community.

This year's theme for the debate is: "Effective responses to global crises; strengthening multilateralism and dialogue among civilisations for international peace, security and development."

The President will be supported by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi and Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, as well as other senior government officials.

According to the department, the South African delegation will in all its interactions during the assembly, contribute to debates around poverty eradication and the Millennium Development Goals; the global financial and economic crisis, among others.

Apart from attending the 64th Session of the UNGA, President Zuma will meet his counterparts for bilateral meetings on Wednesday.

"President Zuma is expected to hold a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts in an endeavour to garner support on South Africa's positions on a range of issues of international importance and to consolidate cooperation on the multilateral level with other countries," the department said.

Established in 1945 under the UN Charter, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.

The UNGA provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in standard-setting and international law codifying.

After the President's address on Wednesday, he is expected to proceed to Pittsburgh, Pennysylvania also in the United States to attend a two-day Group of 20 (G20) Summit that ends on Friday.