Ban lauds Iceland´s clean air and beauty

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Photo: The UN Secretary-General greeted by Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, the foreign minister of Iceland.  UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Iceland for a 2 day visit. "I am personally excited to have an opportunity to visit this beautiful country. Iceland is a symbol of clean air...and beauty and peace loving and gender equality," the Secretary-General told reporters after a meeting with Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, the Icelandic Foreign Minister.

The emphasis of the visit is on Climate Change and sustainable development. Ban Ki-moon yesterday visited the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant close to Reykjavik and today visited the Langjökull glacier, which has retreated considerably in the last few decades due to warmer temperatures. "I will have an opportunity for visiting and seeing for myself the impact of Climate Change caused to glaciers", Mr. Ban said in Reykjavik.

Ban also met the President of Iceland, Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson yesterday and today he meets Mr. Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the Prime Minister at Thingvellir, the site of the ancient Icelandic parliament.

The Secretary General has discussed the post 2015 Development agenda, Syria, Mali and Egypt with the Icelandic leaders.

Asked about the situation in Egypt Mr. Ban emphasized that the transition to democracy in Egypt and the Arab world has great implications and meaning for many other countries in transition. "Therefore a peaceful transition to full participatory democracy in Egypt has great implications and I would therefore really urge both the government leaders and the people, the citizens of Egypt to resolve this issue, peacefully, through dialogue," the UN Secretary Genral told reporters in Reykjavik.

Ban Ki-moon heads to Denmark today where he will inaugurate the new headquarters of the UN in the Nordic countries.