Ban Ki-moon holds talks with Tanzania President

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tanzania - Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday began his official visit to Tanzania, meeting with President Jakaya Kikwete with whom he discussed a range of issues, from the country's upcoming elections and regional crises to the global economic meltdown.

The two also talked about the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is based in the Tanzanian city of Arusha and is expected to complete its work next year, as well as the situations in Burundi, Zimbabwe, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Mr Ban and President Kikwete also spoke about climate change and its impact on food security in Tanzania, as well as the public health situation in the country and the government's efforts to stamp out HIV and AIDS.

In a separate meeting chaired by President Kikwete, the secretary general met with former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who briefed him on the Nairobi talks aimed at bringing peace to war-torn DRC, which Mr Mkapa co-chairs with former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

They discussed the reintegration of fighters from the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) into the Congolese armed forces, the prospects for UN assistance in supporting military integration, and the question of temporary amnesty.

Mr Ban delivered a lecture to the local diplomatic corps, the academic community and representatives of the media, in which he called on African leaders to move forward on education, efforts to battle climate change and the fight against HIV and AIDS.

He also emphasised the need to put an end to violence throughout the continent - including in Darfur, DRC and Somalia.

Mr Ban arrived in Tanzania from South Africa, the first stop on his five-nation tour of Africa. He will also be visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Egypt.

The UN secretary general, after meeting with President Kgalema Motlanthe on Wednesday, commended South Africa's continued role in peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa.

He said South Africa had an important role to play continentally as an economic powerhouse and he further hoped the UN could count on South Africa's continued support in peacekeeping operations.

"South Africa holds a particular place in the United Nations family and South Africa is today an important partner in UN peacemaking and peace building. South Africa has about 2 000 troops helping the United Nations in the Congo and Sudan," he said.

President Motlanthe said South Africa was honoured to host the secretary-general on his first official visit to the country as part of his five country tour to Africa.