[dehai-news] UN.Org: Secretary-General's address to Summit of the African Union [final]

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Feb 02 2009 - 16:54:03 EST

Secretary-General's address to Summit of the African Union [final]

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2 February 2009

Your Excellency Mr. Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania and Chairperson of
the African Union, Your Excellency Ato Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of
Ethiopia, Your Excellency Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Commission,

Distinguished Heads of State and Government of the African Union, Your
Excellency Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States,

Excellencies, Honorable Ministers, Excellencies Ambassadors and Diplomatic
Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me a great pleasure to join you for this important session of the
Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. I thank
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the Government and people of Ethiopia for
their warm hospitality.

I also thank President Kikwete and Chairperson Ping for their dynamic
leadership at this challenging time for the African Union.

Before I begin my substantial remarks, I would like to express sympathy and
condolences to President Kibaki of Kenya for the recent tragic accident
where over 100 people have been killed.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

I extend my deep admiration and respect to all the leaders of African Union.

The African Union meets at a critical period in Africa's search for
development in greater peace and security. I welcome African countries'
on-going efforts to perfect their union.

I can assure you that I and my staff at the United Nations are committed to
doing everything within our capacity to support you.

As you know, I recently traveled through the Middle East seeking a durable
and sustainable ceasefire to the conflict in Gaza. The casualties were
unacceptable by any standards.

We have a fragile ceasefire at this point, but it must be sustained and the
crossings opened.

Steps must be taken toward Palestinian unity taken to ensure that Gaza is
rebuilt and that conditions are in place for the conclusion of a
comprehensive peace in the region.

In my capacity as Secretary-General, I am committed to making this fragile
ceasefire a durable and sustainable ceasefire, working together with the
leaders of the region and the international community.

What the recent conflict in Gaza teaches us is that prevention is better
than cure.

It also underscores the importance of working towards sustainable political

The United Nations therefore particularly welcomes the various regional
initiatives in Africa that are potentially much more effective than
preventive diplomacy launched from New York.

Of course, regional initiatives carry not only the privilege of priority but
also greater ownership and the responsibility of effective delivery.

All of us can take pleasure in the progress to a political settlement in
Somalia, and I particularly want to congratulate President Sheik Sharif
Sheik Ahmed, who is with us here today.

We have all worked hard to get to where we are, but there is much that
remains to be done to alleviate the suffering of the Somalians. The people
of Somalia must build on their excellent start in Djibouti to achieve a
truly national political and social compact.

The UN will take the lead in building up the African Union Mission to
Somalia (AMISOM) and strengthening Somali national forces with the
international community doing its part to provide equipment and support. We
should also plan, if considered appropriate, for the incorporation of AMISOM
into a UN Peacekeeping Force in the months ahead.

We appreciate the determination of the international community to fight
against piracy activities along the coasts of Somalia.

In Darfur, insecurity and intense suffering prevail despite the commendable
support of the international community and the courageous humanitarian,
peacekeeping and mediation efforts of our colleagues on the ground. I urge
the Government of Sudan and the rebel groups to stop immediately all kinds
of violent activity, which jeopardize the peace process and threaten the
lives of civilians. I have urged the JEM to withdraw from Muhajeria in order
to avoid an escalation of violence, and the Sudanese authorities to use
maximum restraint. It is important to ensure that the situation in Darfur
does not impact negatively on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. As you know, elections within this framework were planned to take
place by July but delays in setting up the requisite infrastructure for
elections may make this deadline hard to meet.

The United Nations/African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was
fully able to deploy more than 60 per cent of its troops by the end of
December. We shall continue to accelerate the deployment.I urge the
countries that have pledged troops to deploy them as soon as possible.
UNAMID still lacks several critical assets, such as 18 utility helicopters.

I am grateful to the Government of Ethiopia for its pledge of tactical

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, recent setbacks in the eastern part
of the country have now taken a dramatic turn for the better. But the
situation on the ground is still fragile.

We will strengthen the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC (MONUC) to better
protect civilian populations and provide humanitarian assistance.

We should also acknowledge the significant achievements made in DRC with the
successful holding of presidential elections, the functioning of its
legislative bodies and marked improvement in the security situation. The
spirit behind the new cooperation in the east should be the basis for
building lasting peace in this long-troubled area.The UN remains deeply
invested in the search for peace in the DRC. I urge an immediate end to the
senseless violence against innocent civilians. Perpetrators of such crimes
in DRC and elsewhere should know that they will not go unpunished wherever
they happen, they will have to be accountable.

On Zimbabwe, I welcome the National Unity Government as the first step
toward full democracy. But there is still a long way to go. The United
Nations has supported the mediation efforts of the South African Development
Community (SADC), and I am pleased that the two sides have now agreed to
work together. I urge all sides to build on the hard-won breakthrough which
has taken place so that the international community can partner with
Zimbabwe in meeting the desperate humanitarian needs of its people. I will
immediately send a high-level humanitarian mission to Zimbabwe. The United
Nations remains ready to help this Government as it moves forward. We must
all remain watchful to ensure that the human rights and democratic freedoms
of all Zimbabweans are protected.

In West Africa, we have witnessed a reduction in the number of destructive
and internecine conflicts, as well as several peaceful, democratic transfers
of power.

I commend Ghana for its recent smooth democratic transition of power and my
congratulations to the people of Ghana. To keep this momentum going in the
region, it is essential that a date be set for the presidential election in
Cote d'Ivoire. However, drug trafficking is becoming a major challenge to
security and governance in West Africa, as traffickers are taking advantage
of porous borders, inadequate security and limited national capacity. We are
working closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
to roll back this dangerous phenomenon.

But these efforts have only just begun.

I note that the Africa Union has made it clear that it will not accept
unconstitutional changes of power such as recently took place in Guinea and
Mauritania. It has further taken the lead in demanding a quick return to
constitutional legality. I welcome and encourage this strong, principled and
consistent approach and commend the African Union for the adoption of the
African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. I am particularly
concerned about recent developments in Madagascar and urge all parties to
address their differences peacefully and through existing constitutional

Excellencies, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our world continues to face urgent and complex challenges. A grave
international economic and financial crisis. Climate change. High food
prices. Energy insecurity.

The global economic crisis is unprecedented in scale and scope. It is
erasing jobs and undermining with alarming speed the hard-won gains of
recent years. For a majority of people, particularly those in developing
countries, the most painful and terrifying phase of the crisis has only just

In Africa, its negative effects will reach not only growth, trade and
financial flows but also the fight against poverty and the likelihood of
reduced official development assistance. In responding to the crisis, the
international community must take account of the needs of the poorest
countries and stimulus packages should take this appropriately into

I have made my consistent and strong message to the developed world while I
welcome the national stimulus packages to address this financial crisis,
they should never lose sight of the challenges of the most vulnerable
people. They should keep their commitment on ODA they should keep their
commitment of fighting against climate change, fighting against this food
crisis. And I'm sure that they have taken note of my strong message and this
is going to be my message whenI attend the G20 Summit Meeting in London in

Emerging and developing countries should have greater voice and
representation in the new international financial system and all around
cooperation will be needed to protect the gains made towards achieving the

It is healthy, well-nourished and educated people who will drive development
and prosperity on this continent. However, last year's dramatic rises in
world food prices were especially hard on the poor. Nearly a billion people
are going to bed hungry - one in seven people on earth.

We are encouraging a two-track approach at the global level to help those at
immediate risk while tackling the underlying causes of the crisis. The
High-Level Task Force I formed last May has proposed a Comprehensive
Framework for Action that links improved nutrition, food security,
agriculture, social protection, functioning markets and fair trade.

In addition, I recently joined Prime Minister of Spain in hosting a high
level meeting on food security last Monday which agreed on a number of steps
to achieve this goal.

Africa should not have food shortages. I commend the African Union for
establishing the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme of
the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). I would be delighted
if this process could be driven by African agriculture, and involve African
governments, farmers' organizations and businesses.

Our Task Force will do all it can to help achieve this goal.

One of the immediate priorities must be to help smallholder farmers before
the next planting season starts.

Climate change remains on the front burner of global concerns. Various
studies have shown that Africa will be one of the regions most affected even
though it has not contributed much to the problem. Our objective, however,
should be seamless cooperation to tackle this problem by showing political
will, providing resources and seeking an international treaty by the end of
this year through the United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference in

Time is short to achieve these goals. This is why I regard 2009 as the year
of climate change. I trust that recent steps taken by African countries to
adopt a coherent approach on climate change will enable them to participate
actively in the forthcoming negotiations.


I welcome your choice of infrastructure as the focus of this Summit as
infrastructural development is key to economic growth and social progress.
Africa needs good roads, schools and hospitals; as well as reliable and
efficient water services, electricity grids and telecom networks; while
information and communications technologies must also be a bigger part of
Africa's future. These remain the building blocks for job creation and the
ability to compete in global markets.

Infrastructure development is an opportunity to go green. Greater use of
renewable energy would increase access and protect against climate change.
Geothermal energy in the Great Rift Valley; solar energy in the Sahara;
hydropower and rainwater harvesting; these all have great potential to
create jobs and lay the groundwork for tomorrow's low-carbon economy.

Given the large number of small and landlocked countries, and shared
resource belts, regional approaches to providing infrastructure are
essential. The various African river basin initiatives are a good first step
in this regard. There is a great benefit to be derived from the economies of
scale that cross-border cooperation brings. This should be complemented by
public-private partnerships, building of indigenous scientific and
technological capacities and tangible investments in education.

The MDG Africa Steering Group, which I established after attending the
African Union Summit here in Addis Ababa two years ago, has estimated that
$52 billion in public and private investment would be needed annually to
address Africa's critical infrastructure needs.

All of us should support the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa's efforts
to mobilize these resources. Investing in Africa's infrastructure is a
cornerstone of Africa's development.

We must rededicate ourselves to this vital objective.

Africa's strong commitment to improving governance including through the
African Peer Review Mechanism has contributed to the consolidation of peace
and security and improved economic management. I strongly urge you to forge
ahead in this constructive path.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I shall continue to call on
Africa's development partners to fulfill their commitments to the continent,
even in this time of crisis.

With your strong leadership, matched by strong partnership from the
international community, Africa will be transformed for the better in the

I thank you for your kind attention and I count on your leadership and


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