United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived late in the evening on Saturday, 26 January, in Addis Ababa from Switzerland.
The Secretary-General’s first engagement on Sunday morning was an interview with the magazine Jeune Afrique. The Secretary-General spoke on a range of topics, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Rwanda and Western Sahara.
The Secretary-General attended the opening ceremony of the twentieth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. That event began with a choral group performing the African Union anthem, followed by a minute of silence in memory of the late President of Ghana, John Atta Mills, and of the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi.
In his remarks to the ceremony, the Secretary-General exhorted the leaders of Africa to “build on your proud traditions and uphold this continent’s commitment to peace, sustainable development, democratic rule and human rights — here and around the world”. (See Press ReleaseSG/SM/14788)
He then held a bilateral meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before attending a high-level luncheon on the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa, where he pledged the United Nations’ support to the initiative.
The Secretary-General held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, President ad interim Dioncounda Traoré of Mali, President Boni Yayi of Benin, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, President Joseph Kabila Kabange of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of the Republic of South Sudan and President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.
The Secretary-General ended his day by attending a banquet hosted by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
On Monday, 28 January, the Secretary-General began his day with bilateral meetings with President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia, President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo. He also held a joint meeting with the Presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
He attended a working luncheon for the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, hosted by President Armando Emílio Guebuza of Mozambique.
The Secretary-General held a press conference with his senior advisers. In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that he was pleased to be in Addis to celebrate 50 years of African solidarity with the Organization of African Unity and then the African Union.
Stressing that the United Nations has been “Africa’s strongest partner throughout this half century,” he said that the Organization is “firmly committed to standing with Africa now in the future”.
His last engagement in Addis Ababa before departing for Kuwait that evening was a town hall meeting and staff recognition ceremony for retirees at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.