On Africa’s; back and forth:
Last year Africa was the epic center of earth quake,
social justice, democracy, respect for human rights and dignity, said Ban Ki-Moon. From Tunisia to Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt and Libya, the Southern Sudan, are still being felt around the world. In last year’s special press conference I urged leaders to listen to the voices of their people. I called on them to take bold measures to reform before it is too late. Today, those changes are taking place with or with out those leaders. But we are only at the beginning. Our job, our obligation is to be there for the people on the long road for lasting peace and prosperity to dignity and justice. Different organizations with different memberships and perspectives may sometimes have different approaches to solving problems. We saw some of this with respect to Cote D’Ivoire and Libya. The real test is how we manage those differences. The bond between the United Nation and African Union is strong and growing even stronger over time. As we go ahead, development will be critical. There is good news; the growth in Africa is almost double this year. We also know that chronic unemployment and poverty continued to feed instability and create tensions. Challenges are just building on a more prosperous economy, empowering people, and fighting climate changes that are all linked. We can not make progress in one with out progress in the others. That is why I have made sustainable development my number one priority for the coming years.
Africa has a good prospect of doubling its growth average while international community is going through very difficult financial and economic crisis. However, most African countries are making good economic growth. But in terms of totality, the African continent is still where most of the people are suffering from lack of economic development [benefits]. That is why the UN has launched the MDGs. And that is why I had reported to the General Assembly of the UN that we need to promote sustainable development. In most of the African countries people are suffering from lack of sanitation, proper health systems, food crisis and impact of climate change. We have to address these issues more comprehensively in an integrated manner. Those are our focus and priority when we come to African development, sustainable development. I heard the leaders speaking; they are very much full of hope and expectation that one day Africans will be the one living in a continent of potentiality as well as hope. That is what we have to realize. That is the vision of sustainable development.
On Sudan; issue of immediate concern:
The situation in the Sudan and Southern Sudan has reached a critical point. It has become a major threat to peace and security across the region. It is a responsibility of the African Union and its international partners including the United Nation to intensify common effort to resolve outstanding issues and build confidence between the two countries. I am discussing these issues with the leaders of the African Union here in Addis as well as other concerned leaders and I will raise these matters urgently with the Security Council when I return to New York. The longer these issues remain unresolved, the greater the tensions will grow. The international community needs to act and it needs to act now. I have raised the seriousness of the issues in the relationships between the two Sudans in my speech to the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. The issue has to be solved as soon as possible. I had a meeting with president Salvakier of South Sudan for about 50 minutes. And I have discussed this matter with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, President Kibaki of Kenya, I am going to continue to discuss this issue because I believe that African Union Leaders should play a more important role in addressing their regional issues. Of course, UN in a broad sense has a responsibility also when a certain situation becomes a threat to international peace and security. First and foremost both leaders of the two Sudans have to resolve their pending issues; the pending issues of the compressive peace agreement including the status of Abyie and sharing of oil wealth. We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in south Kurdfan and Blue Nile. These are very worrisome because of the excess problem. The international community, UN, and NGOs humanitarian worker have not been able to have proper access. The fighting between tribal communities also creates a lot of humanitarian crisis there at this time. On these issues African leaders need to pay more attention while they attend this summit. This is a good opportunity for them to talk and discuss more about the two Sudan issues. This is an issue of great concern for me. That is why I met as many African leaders as possible. We have four missions on Sudan. Four special representatives devoted on the two Sudan issue including UNMID, UNISFA in Abyie area. Therefore, we have quite many investments in terms of resource and human power. And then, we have African Union High level Panel led by former president of South Africa, Tabo Mbeki. We have Hailemorkorios who is now working as special envoy. We have quite a number of systems and mechanisms. Why then this issue does not make progress? That is because of lack of political will of both leaders of the Sudan and South Sudan. I urge President Bashir and Salvakier, to fully engage themselves and exercise their political will making necessary compromises and flexibility. Particularly, I urge president Bashir of Sudan to fully cooperate with the United Nation operation there. We have a serious impediment in the movement of the UN peace keepers, UNAMID and also UNISFARAM because of lack of cooperation. I urge them again to fully cooperate with the United Nation. That is the best way, the shortest way to see the only resolution of these issues.
On UNAMID, as you may remember again, since I became secretary general I have made the African and Sudan issues my number one priority. I am sorry that we are still talking about Sudan. The situation is not been much improved. But we are doing our best. As I said the UNAMID’s movement has faced impediment by all sort of restriction by the Sudanese government. We are doing our best to provide all the necessary protection for human life. There has been an important initiative like the Darfur peace process which was signed in Qatar. The implementation process has been lagging behind the schedule. That requires again a political will. We have to have a full cooperation with the Sudanese government.
The situation in Somalia is still fragile and very volatile. But I don’t agree with the argument that the United Nation commitment or whatever is failing. United Nation is stepping up its efforts there. For the first time in 17 years, the UN political office for Somalia has been deployed as of January 24, 2012 in Mogadishu. That is an expression of strong determined will that the UN will be with the Somali people. And as you may remember, I visited Somalia last month. This is for the first time again in 19 years when the Secretary General of the UN pays a visit there. That is the expression of my own determination and political will to the Somalia case. We are working very closely with the international community. The international community is fully supporting the Somali Transitional Federal Government. We are going to have an International Conference on Somalia on February 23, 2012 in London. This evening I am going to have a meeting with President Sheik Sherif of Somalia and we will discuss of course on all the matters concerning Somalia. I have been urging them to implement peace road map by the end of August. The international community believes that the peace road map will bring sustainable peace to the country. And they have to have some harmonious unity among governmental parliament. I am aware that there is disunity in the parliament too. We have to address Somali issue in a more comprehensive way. We have to address the piracy issue; we have to provide a livelihood opportunities to the Somali people so that they will be less motivated to go out to the sea for piracy. This seems a very huge challenge. But the United Nations is leading this international community’s effort to help the Somali government.
On ICC; an independent body?
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent international judiciary organization, completely independent from the United Nations and African Union. It was established by the will of the international community. Therefore, their work and their decisions should be fully respected. The International community has an obligation. All member states of the UN have an obligation to fully cooperate with the ICC. I believe that ICC make their decision and judgment on the basis of their professional integration, on the basis of all the cases of concern.
On Syria; no say:
The Security Council’s debate on particular situations like that of Syria or whatever, I am not in a position to say anything about the exercising of veto right. That is their decision based on their own assessment of the situation.
On UN serving the western interests; totally not true?
That is really unfair critics. If we look at the situation of what had happened in Cote D’Ivoire, Libya and many other places in fact, the leaders were either forcefully defeated in elections or rejected to hand over power to legitimately elected individuals and killing their own people. And in Libya, then again, Kaddafi forces were killing civilian people. In the end, the League of Arab States referred this case urgently to the UN Security Council. The Security Council after very careful deliberation on the situations made necessary and relevant resolutions in case of Cote D’Ivoire which specifically mandated to neutralize the heavy weaponry which were killing civilian people and even threatening the UN peace keepers. And in the case of Libya, by the Security Council’s resolution of 1973, they specifically mandated the international community to take all necessary measures to protect civilian population. Therefore, any allegations forwarded against the UN that it is working for Western power is baseless. That is totally untrue.
Achievements Vs Plan:
I have broad responsibilities as secretary general, a lot of mandates. But the secretary general is one person representing the United Nation. The United Nations as a whole is broadly mandated for the assurance of the world peace and security, development and human right promotion. We can act only when the full member states support us. And support from regional organizations like the African Union is also very important. That is why I have been participating in AU summits for the past six years straight. That is why the United Nations regard to strengthen partnership between the UN and AU is one of the key elements of our success in implementing my responsibility. In relation to such regional organization there are many sub-regional organizations and other key actors or leaders who play an important role to make my role as a secretary general successful.
The saying “business as usual” is the last word in my dictionary. I really hate anybody, any organization performing their duties as business as usual. Most of my staff have heard that hundreds of times that we should avoid the thinking of doing their duties to be business as usual. Last we week before I came to Africa I reported to the general assembly that I have five priority areas in my second term. The first on my list is sustainable development. The second one is prevention of crisis whether man made or natural. The third is related to core responsibility of the United Nation; to make this world more secure and peaceful. We have most of the peace keeping missions based in Africa. The fourth agenda on my list is helping countries in transition. We have seen remarkable and unique situations happen last year. But people are still struggling these days. We have to help them so that they will be able to make good frame work of their future. Then lastly, but not least is promoting gender empowerment and to work for more young people participation in the economic, political and social fabrics of their society. Therefore, these are points in my action agenda in my second term in office as priories. All member states have appreciated my action agenda. That is the way to avoid any criticism that the United Nation is doing business as usual. These are by far more ambitious. If you have my action agenda you will understand how much the United Nation is committed.