Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks at joint press conference with Senior Advisers in Addis Ababa

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), 28 January 2013

I am honoured to be back in Addis Ababa to celebrate 50 years of African solidarity with the Organization of African Unity and then the African Union. The United Nations has been Africa’s strongest partner throughout this half century. We are firmly committed to standing with Africa now in the future.

The United Nations and the African Union share a history of productive collaboration. We are working for unity, solidarity and results.

I see Africa on the rise. I welcome progress on development, good governance and human rights.

I especially commend Africa’s leaders for striving to improve conditions for the continent’s people. We have 1,000 days to reach our Millennium Development Goals. Now is the time to finish the job by accelerating progress. We must seize the unparalleled opportunity to shape our future development agenda.

I have appointed a number of African experts to my team in important decision-making roles ­– and I’m proud to have brought many top-level women advisors here.

We are pressing for progress across Africa’s development agenda. We had very successful meetings today on malaria and yesterday on maternal and child health.

I am also committed to greater progress on HIV and AIDS. We are working for a future where virtually all African mothers survive childbirth and raise their HIV-free babies into healthy adults. Just this week, we launched an initiative to help Africa train and deploy 1 million community health workers by 2015 to speed progress on the MDGs.

In my address to the African Union, I spoke out strongly against sexual violence in conflict. We must end the silence and denial surrounding this terrible problem – not just here, but around the world. I call on African leaders to join me in raising our voices on behalf of the victims. They need our unrelenting advocacy.

Beyond this, women must play a significant role in peacebuilding and the reconstruction of their societies. The United Nations is proud to have prepared a roster of 200 African women who are ready to contribute to this effort.

During this Summit, I have met with close to 20 leaders. We discussed a range of issues and moved forward on several fronts.

As you know, we planned to sign a political Framework on the Democratic Republic of the Congo this morning.

There were no fundamental differences over the content of the Framework. Some procedural issues, however, did arise, and we have agreed to postpone the signing. The United Nations remains committed to helping foster greater stability in the country.

We are also determined to help the people of Mali at this critical hour. As I told the Summit, this is a moral imperative for the entire international community. The humanitarian agencies are already working to alleviate the suffering of the Malian people, and we have deployed specialists to help on both the military and political tracks.

The welcome contribution and decisive action of the French Government, alongside Malian and other African forces, has allowed significant advances in the restoration of Malian territorial integrity. I personally pledge to ensure that the United Nations stands ready to undertake a major system-wide effort for peacebuilding, governance and security sector reform, physical reconstruction and regional cooperation.

On Sudan and South Sudan, I commend the authorities of both countries for taking positive steps to resolve their differences. Implementation of the agreements is now of paramount importance. I also urge Sudan to allow humanitarian assistance in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States.

In Somalia, the fall of Kismaayo and other areas previously held by Al-Shabaab has opened up space for peacebuilding. I am proposing to the Security Council, the establishment of a new UN presence as part of our efforts to strengthen the UN-AU partnership on the ground.

The Central African Republic is making progress. I pay tribute to the President, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, for his mediation leading to the political agreement to stabilize the situation. I call on the parties to move with the implementation of the Libreville agreement.

I am pleased to see the African Union, United Nations, ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, CPLP, coordinating their efforts on Guinea-Bissau and calling for a transitional roadmap for the return to constitutional order in Bissau.

The African Union took an historic step when it appointed its first female Chairperson. I congratulate Her Excellency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. I fully agree with her statement that the future of Africa “is inextricably linked with that of the rest of humanity and the world over.”

The United Nations is committed to working with the African Union to advance progress on this continent and build a better future for all.

I thank you very much. Thank you.