Costa Rica’s Solís travels to New York to address United Nations General Assembly for first time

September 21, 2014
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Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís travels to New York Saturday as part of a week of actives in the Big Apple, including his first address at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Solís will attend the U.N. Climate Summit on Tuesday, Sept. 23, where he will give a speech about Costa Rica’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The U.N. has billed the summit as the first time in five years that world leaders will come together to plot a “bold, new course of action on climate change.” The president will be joined by Environment Minister Edgar Gutiérrez and Agriculture and Livestock Minister Luis Felipe Aráuz. That evening, the president is scheduled to attend a reception at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Solís said that his U.N. address would reflect Costa Rica’s respect for international law, nonviolence, post-2015 U.N. Millennium Development Goals, and international security concerns including South Sudan, Ukraine, the Middle East, and his position on the new violence flaring in Iraq and Syria from Islamic State militants.

“It gives me a great personal feeling to present before the U.N. I had been in the audience before as a young diplomat accompanying grand figures in Costa Rican politics to this forum during the 1980s under President Óscar Arias and the debate over his peace plan. To do it now as a head of state gives me great personal satisfaction. It’s an honor,” the president said.

On Wednesday, Solís will lunch with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, before making his first speech at the United Nations during the 69th General Assembly.

In addition to meeting with world leaders on social and environmental issues, Solís has several meetings scheduled with multinational businesses, investors and financial media. Solís’ first trip to the United States in June was billed as a way to reassure international investors that Costa Rica is still open for business after his election and after Intel announced it was closing its manufacturing facility here.

This time, Solís will likely be on the defensive over Moody Investor Services’ decision to cut Costa Rica’s sovereign debt rating to junk status. The president will meet with 100 business leaders Monday in an event organized by the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, CINDE, and the Financial Times. Despite the recent move by Moody’s, Solís said that Costa Rica remains an attractive place for foreign investment. On Thursday, Solís mets with more businesses at an event organized by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

Solís will also have bilateral meetings with Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and President Ould Abdel Azi of Mauritania and current head of the African Union.

Keeping with his populist image, the president will fly on a commercial United flight to New York. Solís will also meet with Costa Ricans living in New Jersey to celebrate a belated Independence Day.

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