|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
ACTIVITIES OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL IN REPUBLIC OF CONGO, 19 - 21 MARCH
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived from Antananarivo, Madagascar in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, on Sunday afternoon, 19 March.
He held an airport press encounter upon arrival in Brazzaville and that evening he met with Foreign Minister Rodolphe Adada.
On Monday morning, the Secretary-General began the day with a meeting with Prime Minister Isidore Mvouba and Cabinet ministers at the Palais du Peuple in Brazzaville.
At the Palais du Parlement, he met with a group of Members of Parliament, with whom he held a dialogue. There he also met with the diplomatic corps and with the United Nations staff working in the country.
On Monday afternoon, the Secretary-General had meeting with President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who currently heads the African Union, and afterwards told reporters in a brief press encounter that there were a lot of problems to discuss, particularly in Africa, and said that “we are working closely together and we shall continue to do so”.
That entire meeting was tête-à-tête. The Secretary-General told the media that they had discussed United Nations reform, the work of the Security Council, and developments in Darfur, Liberia, Iran and the June elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Following that meeting and press encounter, the Secretary-General and Nane Annan, accompanied by the Congolese President and first lady, presided over a ceremony to destroy arms collected by the Congolese authorities. In a statement, the Secretary-General commended the President and the Congolese people for committing themselves to engaging in dialogue and reconciliation.
At dusk, the Secretary-General and the President set fire to a pile of armaments which had been collected from various militias after civil strife, which ended in 2003. Flames shot into the sky.
In remarks, the Secretary-General expressed a wish that the flame would be a symbol of hope reborn for the Congolese people and an inspiration for all the peoples who continue to be the victims of armed conflict in Africa and elsewhere. (See Press Release SG/SM/10383.)
Following the ceremony, the Secretary-General met with 17 members of opposition parties of the Republic of Congo.
In a separate programme, Mrs. Annan, accompanied by the Minister for the Promotion of Women, Jeanne Françoise Lekomba, viewed an outdoor exhibition on women and development, focusing on HIV/AIDS, education, water and sanitation, and income generation. She also met a group of women ministers, parliamentarians and associations, to discuss the achievements and challenges of women in the Republic of Congo. The group of women parliamentarians recently adopted a declaration of engagement against the spread of HIV/AIDS.
In the evening, he and Mrs. Annan went to a state banquet hosted by the President and First Lady.
On Tuesday morning, 21 March, the Secretary-General left Brazzaville and flew over the Congo River to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
For photographs related to this visit, please visit www.un.org/av/photo.
* *** *For information media • not an official record