United Nations – Another busy day in New York! First thing this morning, President Bush met with President Karzai to discuss progress in Afghanistan. We have a lot of hope for the future of Afghanistan. There has been a more than twenty percent decrease in child mortality over the last five years, access to basic health care is now available to eighty percent of the public, up from eight percent a few years ago, and primary school enrollment for both boys and girls has increased by five hundred percent over the past five years.
Later in the morning, Secretary Rice attended a meeting with EU Foreign Ministers, during which we issued a joint statement calling on the government of Burma to end violence against the peaceful demonstrators and to open a process of dialogue with pro-democracy leaders. The Security Council this afternoon issued a statement of concern about the events in Burma, which were also discussed at today’s G8 Foreign Ministers lunch.
On the bilateral front, Secretary Rice raised the issue of Burma when she met this afternoon with Indian Foreign Minister Mukherjee, urging him to call on the regime to exercise utmost restraint with the peaceful protestors. She also met with Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon where, among a number of issues, the Six Party Talks were discussed. These are talks involving six countries (the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and North and South Korea) aimed at ending the North Korean regime’s attempts to develop a nuclear weapons capability.
While Secretary Rice will be back in Washington, D.C., for part of the day tomorrow to open the President’s meeting of major economies on energy security and climate, I’ll still be in New York and will keep you updated!