On Sunday evening, 28 January, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by his wife, Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Addis Ababa from Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the eve of the opening of the African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital.
Upon arrival, the Secretary-General met with his senior advisers and then met with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
Early on Monday morning, he met with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konaré, and then with Jendayi Frazier, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, before addressing the opening of the African Union Summit.
In his speech, he said that the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations is of central importance to dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, asserting that the two organizations must work together to end the violence and scorched-earth policies adopted by various parties, including militias, as well as the bombings taking place there. He emphasized the need to build consensus for the urgent deployment of a UN-AU force on the ground.
The Secretary-General also stressed the need to move forward in implementing the Millennium Development Goals and said that, in the coming months, he would convene a working group on Africa and the Goals, which would aim to meet by March, to formulate an action plan.
He added that the time has come for the rest of the world to assist African countries in adapting to the effects of a warming planet, while strengthening efforts to mitigate climate change. Nations must implement the adaptation plan of action adopted at last year’s United Nations climate change conference in Nairobi, the Secretary-General said. See Press Release SG/SM/10861.
In the afternoon and into the evening, the Secretary-General had a number of meetings with African leaders on the sidelines of the African Union Summit.
He met with President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir of the Sudan; President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania; President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d’Ivoire; President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad and General François Bozizé of the Central African Republic; President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia; President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti; and President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa of Zambia. In addition, he held talks with Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy.
He issued a statement following his meeting with the Sudanese President.
On Monday evening, the Secretary-General attended a dinner hosted by the African Union. He had a meeting there with the President of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Muammar Al-Qadhafi.
He began his day on Tuesday by continuing to hold bilateral meetings with African leaders on the sidelines of the African Union Summit. He met with European Union Commissioner Louis Michel; President Boni Yayi of Benin; the Foreign Minister of Iran, Manouchehr Motaki; President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda; and with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon.
Following those meetings, he held a press conference.
The Secretary-General told reporters that his presence in Addis in the first month of his tenure is “a strong sign of the growing partnership between the United Nations and the African Union” and of the high priority he attaches to Africa.
On Darfur, the Secretary-General said that he was pleased that President Omar Al-Bashir welcomed a joint AU-UN mission to Khartoum and Darfur in early February.
But he added that he had urged President Bashir, and all parties, to cease hostilities, as an essential foundation for a successful peace process, and humanitarian access.
“No more time can be lost,” the Secretary-General said. “The people of Darfur have waited much too long. This is just unacceptable.”
The Secretary-General then had a Town Hall meeting with United Nations staff in Addis Ababa before departing for Nairobi, Kenya, the last leg of his Africa visit.