ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL IN ZAMBIA, 8-10 JULY
Secretary-General Kofi Annan departed New York on Friday, 6 July. He arrived in Zambia on the 8th, after a rest stop in Europe.
Upon arrival in Lusaka on Sunday, he had a tête-á-tête meeting with former South African President Nelson Mandela. At the invitation of Mr. Mandela, the Secretary-General later attended a meeting of concerned heads of State called by the former South African President to discuss peace prospects for Burundi.
On Monday morning, Mr. Annan began the day by participating in a breakfast meeting convened by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on HIV/AIDS. The meeting was attended by a core group of African leaders, determined to keep the momentum going in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The Secretary-General then addressed the thirty-seventh Summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). He started by saying that "This Summit holds a great promise for Africa's peoples -- the promise that it will be remembered for launching the African Union and setting the continent as a whole on a firm path to peace and development". He was referring to the transformation of the OAU into the new African Union.
"This historic effort will require leadership, courage and a willingness to depart from the ways of the past, if it is to do for Africa what the European Union has done for Europe," he said.
He devoted a sizeable portion of his statement to recent efforts to increase awareness of the impact and threat of HIV/AIDS, highlighting the commitment made last month at the historic special session on HIV/AIDS to combat the disease, in Africa and elsewhere, with the resources required. He repeated his hope that the Global AIDS and Health Fund would be operational by the end of 2001.
The Secretary-General also urged Africa to "reject the ways of the past, and commit itself to building a future of democratic governance subject to the rule of law".
While noting progress towards peace in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Secretary-General also said conflicts persisted in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Angola, Sudan and Western Sahara.
Saying that the roots of these conflicts are prejudices and hatreds tied to ethnic and racial differences, he mentioned the Conference to be held in August 2001 in Durban, South Africa, aimed at uprooting these evils throughout the world.
"Each of you has a critical role to play in making this a constructive, creative Conference dedicated not to rehearsing the arguments of the past, but to improving our common future," he told the delegates. "We must not allow the weight of disputes about the past to distract us from that crucial challenge" (see Press Release SG/SM/7884).
The Secretary-General held a series of bilateral meetings during the day. He had one with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the morning. In the afternoon, he convened a mini-summit with the Presidents of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila. The Secretary-General later declared that meeting as "positive", with the two leaders agreeing to undertake confidence-building measures with a common objective of promoting full implementation of the Lusaka peace accords.
Earlier, he had met individually with Ghanaian President John Kufuor, with the President of Somalia, Abdikassim Salah Hassan, and with Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority. He also met with the former President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda.
On Tuesday, 10 July, the Secretary-General issued a statement welcoming the appointment of Amara Essy, former Foreign Minister of Côte d'Ivoire, as the next Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, who would head the Organization at a time of transition to the new African Union. "Mr. Essy is particularly well qualified to lead the Organization during this challenging period," the Secretary-General said (see Press Release SG/SM/7886).
Mr. Annan started the day with consecutive discussions with leaders from Ethiopia and Eritrea. In both meetings -- one with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and the other with President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea -- they discussed cooperation with the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and ways to continue to move the peace process forward.
The Secretary-General then met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qadhafi.
Meetings with Habib Ben Yahia, Foreign Minister of Tunisia, President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Zambian President Frederick J.T. Chiluba and President Idriss Deby of Chad were scheduled in the afternoon before the Secretary-General gave a press conference at the OAU Summit conference centre.
In that press conference he was asked questions primarily about African issues, including the new African Union. He also touched on world trade, children
in armed conflict, HIV/AIDS, the World Conference against Racism, and the Middle East.
Also on the Secretary-General's bilateral agenda on Tuesday were President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d'Ivoire, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and South African President Thabo Mbeki.
The Secretary-General departed Lusaka late on Tuesday to Munich, Germany, where he would begin a two-day official visit on Thursday, 12 July.
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