VIPs flying in for Pacific forum anniversary

By Audrey Young

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit New Zealand in September, just before the Rugby World Cup begins.

He will be one of the high-profile visitors at the 40th anniversary meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Herald understands.

Other non-Pacific foreign dignitaries who will be at the forum are understood to include President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Mr Zuma may stay on for the Rugby World Cup; South Africa's first game is in Wellington on September 11 against Wales, two days after the first game, New Zealand vs Tonga.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Asia Pacific Kurt Campbell and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, are also expected to visit during the conference.

The visit by Mr Ban will be his first as UN Secretary-General, although he visited briefly as South Korean Foreign Minister in 2006 to lobby the Prime Minister at the time, Helen Clark, for the UN position.

Mr Ban has just been reappointed for a second five-year term.

Helen Clark is No 3 in the UN pecking order, heading the United Nations Development Programme.

The last visit to New Zealand by a United Nations secretary-general was in 2000 when Mr Ban's predecessor, Kofi Annan, visited.

- NZ Herald

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