Maputo, Mozambique

21 May 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at press encounter with Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi of Mozambique

SG: It is a great honour and pleasure for me to visit Mozambique at this crucially important timing. This is my first visit to Mozambique as Secretary-General of the United and I would like to thank President Guebuza and the people and Government of Mozambique for their very warm welcome and hospitality.

Mozambique is an important success story for the global community.  The United Nations is very pleased to see what the Mozambique Government and people have achieved during the last 20 years. Let us look back 20 years ago and another 16 years before that. Mozambique had a lot of troubles at that time. Now, with the peace treaty in 1992 you have been steadily moving toward greater democracy, economic and social development and political stability.

The United Nations Operations in Mozambique in 1992 helped to implement this, and we are very much proud to see what you have achieved.

I am here to acknowledge tremendous progress.  But I also know the people of Mozambique are looking forward – and I am also looking forward, too.  

We are now less than 1,000 days from the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.  As you know, last month I have initiated a 1,000-day countdown for action to help meet the Millennium Development Goals. Mozambique has made steady progress promoting education and gender empowerment. This morning in my meeting with President Guebuza while I have commended the progress in education I have invited President Guebuza to play a role as an Education Champion. I am very much grateful for his accepting this role as Education Champion.

There are many more children survive beyond the age of five.  You have deepened democracy. 

Over the past decade, Mozambique has ranked among the top 10 fastest developing economies in the world, and I highly commend such an achievement. 

But there are still many development hurdles and challenges, very stubborn, like poverty; that is still too high.  Almost 50 percent of the population live under the poverty level.

New-found resources create new opportunities but generate heightened expectations.    

The key is to maximize the opportunities before Mozambique and minimize the social and economic risks.  

I discussed these issues with President Guebuza and Foreign Minister Baloi this morning. This will be our continuing subject of discussion.

We spoke about Mozambique’s role in promoting peace and security in this region, and the continent as a whole.

I would like to commend Mozambique for their regional leadership role as chair of the Southern African and Development Community and also president of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries.

In that role, Mozambique has been instrumental as a witness and guarantor to the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Great Lakes region.

The latest clashes in the east of the DRC near Goma emphasize yet again the urgency of implementing the agreement. On 26 May in Addis Ababa I am going to meet with all heads of state and government of those 11 signatories to this framework agreement and the four guarantors – President Guebuza of Mozambique, the President of Uganda, myself and Madame Zuma of the African Union Commission.

All parties to the Framework need to comply with their commitments to bring peace to this troubled region so we in turn can bring the benefits of development to war-weary people.

Mozambique has shown that a country can recover from conflict.

I once again thank Mozambique and President Guebuza for their important contributions to peace and stability and development and human rights.  

I look forward to working with the Government and people of Mozambique to strengthen our partnership and ensure that the benefits of development reach all Mozambicans.

Thank you

Q: You are going to Congo now, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. How can the new UN intervention force help with the ongoing crisis in eastern Congo?

SG: This intervention brigade which was adopted to be deployed fully will have a strong mandate to enforce peace and security in the region. I understand that it is yet to be fully operational. We have appointed the force commander and members of this intervention brigade are now being deployed at this time. I know that the FARDC, Congolese national army, has taken necessary measures against this M23 attack yesterday, and I sincerely hope that all the parties in that will be committed to this framework agreement for peace and security there. And that is why my visit from tomorrow to DRC will be very much important.

Q: What’s your reaction to reports linking the attacks to the deployment of the UN forces on the ground, and how worried you are that UN forces will be next in the line of fire?

SG: Again, this deployment is going to be made as soon as possible in the region. There are some countries like Tanzania and South Africa. They have already committed their soldiers. Considering all that has happened now recently I believe that we must expedite the deployment so that they will be fully responsible as soon as possible. While addressing these security issues which have been there many decades in the DRC and the Great Lake region we believe that it is not only peace and security matters. It also has the very important dimension of development. The people need to have something to work with and people need to be well fed and well educated. And that is why we are now going to put more focus on development. The President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim, is going to join me from tomorrow in my meetings with President Kabila and President Kagame, while visiting [their] two countries and we will also move to Uganda together to have a meeting with the Ugandan President. All these are very important initiatives on which the United Nations and World Bank are working together for peace and development.

Q: Do you see Boko Haram as a regional threat and what do say about the military offensive going on right now in Nigeria?

SG: Boko Haram has been really making a lot of security threats to Nigeria and also the neighbouring region. This is totally unacceptable. And I have been condemning all these terrorist attacks caused by Boko Haram – terrorist attacks. Just a few days ago I have spoken  over the phone with President Goodluck Jonathan expressing my serious concerns. I know that the Nigerian Government has declared an emergency in those three states where violence took place. And I have asked to make sure that while military operations may be necessary to deter terrorist attacks the Government forces and Government leaders should ensure that in the course of military operations against  terrorist attacks the civilian populations and their human rights, human lives, must be protected. And we have agreed to have a bilateral meeting in Addis Ababa this weekend and discuss more in detail how we can make sure that these human rights and human dignity and political and social stability can be maintained in Nigeria.

Thank you