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Opening remarks by Ambassador Henry L. Mac Donald at the GRULAC briefing with Secretary-General H.E. Ban Ki Moon Thursday 10 January 2008 10.00 – 11.00 a.m. Conference Room 3, UN HQ
10 January 2008 / 03:56

 Opening remarks by Ambassador Henry L. Mac Donald at the GRULAC briefing with Secretary-General H.E. Ban Ki Moon
Thursday 10 January 2008
10.00 – 11.00 a.m.
Conference Room 3, UN HQ

Excellencies,
Dear friends,

Since this is our first gathering in 2008 and also my first meeting as Chairman of the GRULAC Group, let me start by wishing all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

I hope that we should continue our constructive relationship and friendship this year. Let us continue to work in a spirit of togetherness and dedication to improve the situation of many disadvantaged groups and peoples all over the world and in the Latin American and Caribbean region in particular.

On behalf of the Member States of the Latin American and Caribbean Group I warmly welcome you Mr. Secretary General and express best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy New Year. Furthermore I would also like to wish you a successful year at the helm of this very important Organization.

GRULAC is pleased to have the opportunity to hear from you at the beginning of this New Year. We thank you for your dedicated and skilful leadership expressed during your first year in office and are eagerly looking forward to your views and initiatives in managing the business of the United Nations for this year, and I do expect that after your briefing we will engage in constructive discussions.

Mr. Secretary General, in your press conference with representatives of the media last Monday, you said, and I quote: “Let 2008 be the year of the “bottom million” , end quote.

Indeed with the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals vastly approaching, he United Nations community will have to redouble its efforts in making the world a better place for the many poor and disadvantaged people worldwide.

Eradication of extreme poverty; addressing the issue of the negative effects of climate change and global warming; upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms; addressing the challenges of peace keeping and security; as well as successfully completing the development round of trade negotiations are but a few issues that will continue to warrant our attention this year.

On behalf of the Group I would like to reiterate our willingness and dedication to work together to overcome the many challenges we are faced with nowadays.

Without further do I would now like to invite His Excellency Ban Ki Moon to address the GRULAC Members.