President will discuss Ireland’s role on climate change and peacebuilding.

President Michael D Higgins opens his week-long official visit to the United States on Tuesday with a speech to the United Nations.

The speech to the General Assembly will cover Ireland’s contribution to the UN, and in particular the role played by Ireland in the negotiation and ratification process for the international Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement to address climate change.

Mr Higgins will also discuss Ireland’s commitment to peacebuilding.

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The General Assembly speech will be seen as something of a sales pitch, in the context of Ireland’s campaign to attract sufficient member votes to secure a return to the UN Security Council in 2020.

That campaign is being led by Ireland’s ambassador to the United Nations, Geraldine Byrne Nason.

Mr Higgins, while at the Manhattan headquarters fronting the East River, will also meet UN secretary general António Guterres.

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The president will preside at a Thursday evening meeting for Latin American ambassadors at the Fifth Avenue home of the American Irish Historical Society.Ireland’s historical role in the emergence of independent nations in Latin America is significant and Mr Higgins has highlighted this in the past.

The president is being accompanied on his visit to New York by his wife Sabina and by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone who is representing the Government.

The visit runs until Saturday.

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Article courtesy of Ray O’Hanlon.  Irish Times.

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