High Commissioner's United States visit
High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers leaves tomorrow morning for his annual visit to the United States. The High Commissioner is expected to meet with senior US officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The High Commissioner's three-day visit will highlight major UNHCR operations that require greater attention and support, particularly needs in West Africa and Afghanistan. He has just completed an eight-day visit to West Africa and will discuss his findings and impressions from that mission. Additional programmes in Africa will also be covered, including East Africa where the High Commissioner travelled in mid-April. Other key issues will be raised, such as the expected repatriation of Iraqi refugees and US domestic issues, including the need to offer temporary protection to Colombians and increasing refugee resettlement to the US. The High Commissioner will also discuss UNHCR management issues and the overall funding situation for the organization for 2004.
The United States is UNHCR's single largest donor, allowing the UN refugee agency to ease the plight of refugees worldwide. The High Commissioner looks forward to enhancing this continued partnership with the US government.