The Secretary-General met today with H. E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa, on the opening day of the AIDS2016 conference in Durban.
The Secretary-General commended South Africa for its progress in the fight against AIDS, particularly in giving access to treatment to people affected by HIV, recalling that the Durban Conference in 2000 had set very good guidelines to achieve such progress. However, he stressed that much remained to be done at the global level to ensure the ending of the epidemic by 2030.
The two leaders also discussed a number of regional issues. On South Sudan, they agreed on the importance of regional engagement to find a solution to the conflict. They also expressed their concern regarding the impact on civilians of recent incidents between security forces and the Renamo movement in Mozambique. On Lesotho, the Secretary-General appreciated the mediation efforts by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and on Burundi, he reiterated the need for an inclusive political dialogue, thanking South Africa for its efforts in facilitating such a dialogue.
Noting the impact of the El Niño climate phenomenon on South Africa and the region, the Secretary-General hoped that the country would ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change by the end of this year to ensure its entry into force as soon as possible.