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Ministerial Meeting on Refugees: 70 confirmed

Briefing notes

Ministerial Meeting on Refugees: 70 confirmed

4 December 2001

More than 70 ministers have now confirmed they will attend next week's first-ever meeting of all the countries that have signed the 1951 Refugee Convention. Another 30 states are expected shortly to confirm the identity of their senior delegates. The final tally of ministers could exceed 80.

Among the ministers who have confirmed their presence to date are 29 Ministers of the Interior and 17 Foreign Ministers. In addition there are three Deputy Prime Ministers and the President of Latvia, who will attend in a personal capacity as a former refugee.

Ministers who have said they will be attending include South African Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi; German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer; UK Home Secretary David Blunkett; Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa; Australian Minister for Immigration Philip Ruddock; the Republic of Korea's Minister of External Affairs Han Seung-Soo - who will appear in his capacity as the current President of the UN General Assembly; and Belgian Interior Minister Antoine Duquesne, who will also represent the Presidency of the European Union. Swiss Minister for Justice and Police Ruth Metzler-Arnold will preside over the meeting.

Some 80 non-governmental organizations are expected to attend a meeting of their own on 11 December, the day before the main meeting. They will also attend the Ministerial Meeting as observers.