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ITU Secretary-General receives Dominican Republic’s highest order

Geneva, 10 July 2009 — ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré was last night honoured by the President of the Dominican Republic, Dr Leonel Fernández, when he was accorded the title of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sánchez and Mella (Orden al Mérito de Duarte, Sánchez y Mella).

The Order of Merit of Duarte, Sánchez and Mella is the principal Order of the Dominican Republic. It was established in 1931, and is conferred by the Head of State on both civilians and military for distinguished services.

The ceremony, held in the National Palace Hall of Ambassadors, was attended by the First Lady of the Dominican Republic, Dr Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, the President of the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications, Mr José Rafael Vargas, and the Secretary of the Presidency, César Pina Toribio, along with Mr John Gagain, Executive Director, Presidential Commission on the Millennium Development Goals.

In receiving the decoration, Dr Touré paid tribute to the leadership of President Fernández and his strong commitment to national development. "I praise your efforts in driving development, and accept this award with great honour," said Dr Touré.

Dr Touré was on official visit to the Dominican Republic, where he stressed the importance of ICTs and broadband as vital enablers of social and economic development. He noted the enormous progress made in the country over the past five years, with mobile cellular subscriptions growing from 2.1 million at the beginning of 2004 to 7.2 million by the start of 2009, and Internet access increasing from 731,000 to 2.6 million over the same period.

For more information, please contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Tel: +41 22 730 5046
Mobile: +41 79 249 4861
Fax: +41 22 730 5939

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Updated : 2009-07-28