Minister Cannon to Participate in UN General Assembly

(No. 266 - September 21, 2009 - 4:45 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will travel to New York City from September 22 to 27, 2009, to take part in the general debate of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He will deliver Canada’s statement to the Assembly on the evening of September 26.

"At the UN, I look forward to reaffirming Canada’s commitment to collective action on the advancement of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law," said Minister Cannon. "We will also be working with other countries on overcoming global challenges, such as the economic crisis and climate change.

"Canada is a strong contributor to peace and security missions in Afghanistan, Haiti and Sudan. Today, thousands of Canadians serve in UN missions abroad. While at the General Assembly, I will meet with my counterparts to advance Canadian priorities of peace, security, human rights, the Middle East and making the UN work more effectively."

While attending the General Assembly, Minister Cannon will participate in ministerial meetings of the G8 and Commonwealth. He will also attend high-level meetings on Afghanistan and Haiti, a Security Council summit on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and a meeting of the Group of Friends of Democratic Pakistan.

The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), will travel to New York with Minister Cannon and will also represent Canada at a number of high-level multilateral meetings.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

Backgrounder

64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

The UN General Assembly consists of all UN member states, of which there are now 192. It takes place in New York City and begins each year in mid-September. The Assembly may discuss all matters within the scope of the UN Charter.

The regular session of the 64th Assembly began September 15, 2009, and will end September 13, 2010. The general debate, the high-level segment of the session, will take place from September 23 to 30.

Heads of state, heads of government or foreign ministers from most UN members attend the general debate to deliver their nations’ addresses to the General Assembly. While in New York, they also conduct meetings to promote their foreign policy objectives. While this year’s general debate is taking place, a number of other international organizations, including the G8, the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, will hold ministerial meetings. There will also be high-level meetings on such subjects as Sudan and international food security.

Issues expected to dominate the general debate include climate change and the financial crisis. As well, a number of ongoing geopolitical issues—which fall under the purview of the Security Council—will continue to claim UN attention. These include Afghanistan, Haiti, Sudan, Iran and North Korea.

The General Assembly receives reports from all other UN organs, appoints the Secretary-General and members of other bodies, approves the budget and directs the work of the Secretariat. The General Assembly has six committees: Disarmament and International Security; Economic and Financial; Social, Humanitarian and Cultural; Special Political and Decolonization; Administrative and Budgetary; and Legal.

For more information on Canada’s work at the United Nations, visit the website of Canada’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.