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Visit of External Affairs Minister, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee to New York September 28, 2008 - October 2, 2008

New York
September 29, 2008

External Affairs Minister of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, reached New York on Sunday, September 28, 2008. He is visiting New York from September 28 to October 2, in context of the ongoing 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. During his stay, the Minister will participate in an informal plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate the second International Day of Non-Violence on October 2, 2008.

On Monday, September 29, the External Affairs Minister held bilateral meetings with H.E Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. He also met H.E Ms. Paula G. Scoon, Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago; H.E Mr. Ojo Maduekwe, Foreign Minister of Nigeria; H.E Dr. N Dlamini Zuma of South Africa and H.E Mr. Salaheddin Al-Bashir of Jordan. He also participated in three Ministerial meetings, including the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) initiative, the India-Gulf Cooperation Council, and of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

During EAM’s meeting with his Russian counterpart, the two Ministers took stock of the strategic partnership between the two countries, and the state of preparations for the annual Summit-level meeting between the two countries. Foreign Minister Lavrov will soon be visiting India in context of the detailed and substantive agenda that is planned for the visit, which will seek to provide a fresh impetus to the wide-ranging bilateral relationship.

During the meeting between EAM and his counterpart from Trinidad and Tobago, the two sides discussed the close bilateral relationship based on shared cultural and historical links. These ties were set in the context of growing cooperation between India and the countries of the CARICOM, and the efforts on both sides to further expand these ties. 

Recalling the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Nigeria in October 2007, the two Ministers discussed ongoing efforts to expand bilateral ties, in particular, the economic and commercial relationship, and the possibility of intensifying our bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbons sector, beyond the buyer-seller relationship.

In his meeting with his Jordanian counterpart, EAM discussed the situation in West Asia, as well as the state of the cordial and cooperative bilateral relationship that the two countries enjoy. The Jordanian dignitary expressed his appreciation of India’s close involvement and interest in his region.

Finally, during EAM’s meeting with the Foreign Minister of South Africa, the two Ministers exchanged views on the historically close bilateral relationship, and the close cooperative ties between the two countries in the multilateral fora.

The meeting between India and the GCC took place in the format of the IV India-GCC Political Dialogue. The meeting was Chaired by H.E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabar Al-Thani, Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar. During this Dialogue, the two sides reviewed the state of India-GCC relations, before proceeding to discuss the situation in West Asia, in the particular context of the Middle East Peace Process and the Situation in Iraq.

An informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers was convened by H.E Mr. Rohitha Bogollogama, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka. Apart from EAM, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal attended the meeting at Ministerial level. Afghanistan and Maldives were represented at the senior official level. The Secretary General of SAARC was also present. The Ministers reviewed progress in implementing the decisions and recommendations of the 14th and 15th SAARC Summits, held in New Delhi (April 2007) and Colombo (August 2008) respectively. 

Finally, EAM participated in a Ministerial meeting of the India-Brazil-South Africa group, at which H.E Mr. Celso Amorim, Foreign Minister of Brazil, and H.E Dr N Dlamini Zuma were also present. At the end of the meeting, the Ministers issued a press statement.