UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — UN chief Ban Ki-moon was to embark on a four-nation Asian tour Saturday highlighted by his attendance at the climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia, his spokeswoman said Friday.
Ban was to begin with a two-day official visit to Thailand on Monday, during which he was to call on King Bhumibol Adulyadej and confer with Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, Michele Montas said.
The secretary general was also to hold talks at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in the Thai capital before heading for Bali Tuesday.
Delegates from more than 180 nations are gathered for the December 3-14 meeting, which is tasked with setting down a blueprint to slash greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.
Thursday the UN chief said he favored a binding cap on greenhouse gas emissions but noted that the coming climate change conference in Indonesia should instead focus first on setting a timeline for a deal by 2009.
"Our ultimate goal is a comprehensive agreement on climate change that all nations can embrace," the secretary general said. "In Bali, we need to set an agenda -- a roadmap to a better future, coupled with a timeline that produces a deal by 2009."
Next Friday, Ban was to travel to Dili for an official visit to East Timor where he was to meet with government officials, women's groups and inspect camps for displaced persons as well as the UN mission which is helping the government stabilize the tiny Pacific territory.
East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was separated from Jakarta following a 1999 independence vote marred by deadly violence inflicted by the Indonesian military and its militia allies.
Indonesia had invaded East Timor, which is formally known as Timor-Leste, in 1975.
On December 15, Ban was to head for Jakarta for a 24-hour official visit that will feature talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The next day, he was to make a brief stopover in Tokyo for talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura before heading back to New York.
From New York, he was to fly to Paris to attend a conference of donor countries on December 17 focusing on financial and economic aid to the Palestinian Authority.
In the French capital, the UN secretary general was also to take part in a meeting of the Middle East peace diplomatic quartet as well as in talks between the four -- the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union -- and the Arab League.
Ban was due back in New York on December 18.