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Ban Ki-moon makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

29 June 2007 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a surprise visit to Afghanistan today, meeting with top officials there ahead of a planned conference on the country he will attend early next month in Rome.

During a four-hour stay in Kabul, the Secretary General met with President Hamid Karzai, with the leader of the Wolesi Jirga (House of the People), Yunus Qanuni, with the military commander of the International Security Assistance Force, General Dan McNeal and with members of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“Responding to a long-standing invitation from President Karzai, the Secretary General wanted to evaluate the situation on the ground, better assess the progress made, and the role the United Nations can play,” according to his spokesperson.

Mr. Ban has left Kabul and will be heading to Europe, where he will meet President Karzai once more on 3 July in Rome at the Conference on the Rule of Law in Afghanistan, which will be co-chaired by the UN and the Afghan and Italian Governments. The Secretary General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, will also attend the Rome conference.

Before going to Rome, the Secretary-General is expected in Geneva Monday for the opening of the High-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council

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