Just after arriving in New York for the UN General Assembly’s High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, accompanied by Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, visited the Power and Grace Exposition, featuring paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens, at the Morgan Library & Museum. The library, founded by U.S. financier Jack Pierpont Morgan Jr. also hosted a high-level reception on Monday evening, aimed at promoting Belgium’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
More than 400 dignitaries were invited to the reception. Many permanent representatives to the United Nations attended, as well as the presidents of the Ireland, Michael Higgins, and the Gambia, Adama Barrow, along with the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Mevlüt Cavusolgu, and Germany, Heiko Maas.
For more than an hour, the royal couple welcomed each guest with a few words and a pose for the official photo. Foreign Minister Reynders then addressed the gathering, defending Belgium’s candidature for a seat on the Security Council in 2019-2020.
While the guests sampled specialties such as Belgian beer, chocolate made by an artisan who travelled specially for the occasion and the traditional mussels with fries, Reynders highlighted Belgium’s position as a link “between Northern and Southern Europe and between the Germanic and Latin languages and cultures, as a political and strategic corridor, and as the capital of Europe”.
The minister called on his audience to “retain the lessons of the past” by investing in peace mediation and consolidation, the theme of the UN General Assembly meeting, which is being held on 24-25 April.
King Philippe will have the honour of being the first speaker at the conference and he will have a chance to convince additional States of the relevance of Belgium’s candidature ahead of the vote to be held on the 8th of June.