Addis Ababa

31 January 2015

Opening remarks at press conference in Addis Ababa

Ban Ki-moon

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Bonjour mesdames et messieurs.

It is always a pleasure to return to Addis Ababa. The African Union summit is an opportunity for me to meet the leaders of this great continent and to review our partnership for peace, security and development.

Before I begin my statement and press conference, let me say a few words about the terrorist attacks which happened in North Sinai which happened earlier this week.

Let me start by condemning in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attacks in North Sinai, earlier this week which killed dozens of people, including civilians, and injured scores of others. I convey my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and express my solidarity with the people of Egypt.

This year, the African continent has faced one of its most daunting challenges.

I am proud of the work we have done together to fight Ebola. The African Union has been on the front lines. Member States have contributed resources, expertise and supplies. Hundreds of health workers have been deployed.

This mobilization is an inspiring example of national, regional and international collaboration. And it is paying off.

As I saw during my visit to the Ebola-affected countries - Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali -- the epidemic is far from over, but we are beginning to turn the tide.

We must continue to demonstrate the same solidarity until Ebola is gone from every country, and throughout the next phase of recovery.

In the affected countries, as in many others on this continent, development and peace go hand-in-hand.

Africa has some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Many countries have made progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

We now have the opportunity – this year – to build on the success of the MDGs with a new post-2015 development agenda, with a set of Sustainable Development Goals, and agreeing and adopting a universal, meaningful agreement on climate change, in December in Paris this year.

Member States are working on Sustainable Development Goals that put people and our planet at the centre and prioritize human rights and the rule of law.

African families, communities and economies have much to gain from both these historic agreements.

Collaboration on peace and security is one of the most important elements of the UN’s partnership with the African Union. More than 80 percent of UN peacekeepers are deployed on the continent. Many lives depend on preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peace-building.

Our joint efforts with regional partners have made some progress in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan. We must continue on this path and work even more closely together.

Terrorism, cross-border crime and other transnational threats continue to challenge us. The murderous campaign waged by Boko Haram demands stronger and more coordinated action from us all. I strongly support the AU’s moves to establish a Multinational Joint Task Force, which is consistent with UN human rights due diligence policies.

Regional and international efforts must focus on protecting communities in northern Nigeria and across borders. More than one million internally displaced people and refugees must be able to return home. We must stop the advance of this terrorist group.

Once again, I repeat my call for the immediate and unconditional release of those who have been abducted, particularly the girls from Chibok.

Finally, several African countries will hold elections this year. The AU has a strong record of supporting democratic transitions.

The AU and UN will work together to support Member States to organize peaceful and credible polls.

I urge leaders in Africa and around the world to respect constitutional and legal limits on their terms of office. I call on them to listen to their people and respect their wishes and aspirations, expressed through the democratic process.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

I will be ready to answer some of your questions. We have many senior advisors, Special Envoys, Special Representatives, on various dimensions of our work, including the Head of UNMEER dealing with issues. We have all political and peace and security and development related senior advisors of the United Nations.

So you may address the question to me and if you have specific questions, you may ask to those related senior advisors. Thank you.