UN must continue working closely with DR Congo and Republic of Congo, Migiro says

1 May 2007 –
1 May 2007 – After returning from a weeklong visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today that the UN must continue its partnership with the two countries in helping them meet the development challenges ahead.

Regarding the DRC, Ms. Migiro said that President Joseph Kabila told her in their meeting that his Government is cognizant of the need to improve governance, build infrastructure and provide social services.

The two also discussed how the DRC could meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight targets aimed to slash social ills, including extreme poverty and hunger, by 2015.

She said Mr. Kabila particularly voiced hope for the UN’s assistance in promoting the process of reintegration of former rebels.

The Republic of Congo, which is currently in the midst of preparing for elections, is also rebuilding after civil war and is trying to consolidate stability, Ms. Migiro noted.

In her discussions with Prime Minister Ifidoru Mvouba, they talked about the relationship between the country and the UN system, as well as efforts made in the areas of development and governance, she said.

In response to reporters’ questions, the Deputy Secretary-General reiterated how important the issue of development is to her and how she believes that UN system-wide reform is “about making the United Nations deliver more efficiently, deliver better, and also making good use of resources.”

She added that she will also use her position to advocate other matters relating to development, including gender equality and issues relating HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Asked whether the UN should take a stance against “the Gambian President’s claim he can cure AIDS himself and kicking out any kind of United Nations people who suggest otherwise,” Ms. Migiro said the UN Development Programme (UNDP) had made clear “that there was no scientific proof that this could work.”

She added that the incident was “not something which was very pleasant for the United Nations, but, on the other hand, I don’t think that there is a way that one can force somebody’s presence there.”

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