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S. Korea rethinks plan for U.N. peacekeeping conference due to omicron variant

All News 17:25 November 30, 2021

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is reconsidering plans to host a major international conference on U.N. peacekeeping and some other diplomatic events scheduled for next month on concerns about the spread of the new COVID-19 omicron variant, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry is supposed to host the 2021 Seoul U.N. Peacekeeping Ministerial from Dec. 7-8 and the Korea-Africa forum the following days, but concerns over the latest variant, first reported in southern Africa, have cast a cloud over relevant plans.

"As the omicron virus has been rapidly spreading, the government is reconsidering (plans for) the upcoming events scheduled in December," Ahn Eun-ju, its deputy spokesperson, said in a press briefing. "We will share additional details later (with you)."

The UN peacekeeping forum was expected to be the nation's largest in-person international conference since the pandemic, but the ministry was forced to reconsider the plan to invite guests from over 100 nations due to a travel ban on foreign arrivals from eight African countries.

"We have been consulting (with the U.N.) over various options," a foreign ministry official said.

The ministry has also been consulting with members of the African Union, the co-organizer of the forum, over potential changes to the meeting, with consultations with local health authorities under way as well, the official said.


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