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Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly

New York, 30 January 2011

After a three-day visit to Cameroon, President Deiss arrives at the Summit of the African Union

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, arrived in Addis Ababa on 30 January 2011, hours before the opening of the Summit of the African Union. At the invitation of H.E. Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, the President of Malawi in his capacity as Chair of the African Union, President Deiss will address the Summit as a Special Guest. The President of the General Assembly will also hold several bilateral meetings with Heads of State and Government as well as leaders of the African Union and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

President Deiss’ visit to the African Union follows his visit to the Republic of Cameroon, his first on African soil in his capacity as President of the General Assembly. At the invitation of H.E. President Paul Biya, President Deiss visited Cameroon from 27 to 29 January. On 28 January in Yaoundé, President Deiss met with the United Nations Country Team, which comprises 17 agencies covering the sub-region. On the same day, President Biya and President Deiss held a bilateral meeting.

Recalling that the ties between Cameroon and the United Nations date back to the days when Cameroon was under the mandate of the Organization’s Trusteeship Council, President Deiss thanked President Biya for the role that Cameroon now plays as a valued partner in the community of nations. President Deiss further added that Cameroon is an active participant in the work of the General Assembly where it presides over the Third Committee.

Reiterating Cameroon’s strong commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and its active support for the Organization’s activities, including in peacekeeping operations, President Biya thanked President Deiss for the cooperation between his country and the United Nations over the past decades. At the meeting, both Presidents also discussed important issues on the agenda of the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly, including Security Council reform and the review of the Human Rights Council. They also had a fruitful exchange of views on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and the recent referendum in Southern Sudan. The President of Cameroon and the President of the General Assembly also discussed global governance as well as the need to accelerate efforts for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. President Biya reiterated to President Deiss his country’s firm commitment to achieve the MDGs.

Before a state lunch offered by the President of Cameroon and Mrs. Chantal Biya, the President of Cameroon awarded President Deiss the order of Grand Officier de l’Ordre National de la Valeur, one of the highest medals in Cameroon.

On the same day, President Deiss delivered a lecture at the Institute of International Relations. The event was attended by academia, diplomats and hundreds of international students. In his key-note address, President Deiss outlined his vision on global governance. He underlined the fact that Africa is an indispensible partner in a global world, a theme that the President Deiss will further develop when he addresses the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union on Sunday, 30 January.