UN chief off to Africa next week

February 19, 2009 12:00 am

, UNITED NATIONS, Feb 19 – UN chief Ban Ki-moon was to embark on a five-nation African tour early next week, including his first official visits to South Africa and Tanzania, his press office said on Wednesday.

The UN secretary general was also to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Egypt, UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe announced.

Ban was first to head to South Africa to confer with President Kgalema Motlanthe along with his ministers for finance and the environment. The UN boss was also expected to call on former president Nelson Mandela.

In Tanzania, the secretary general was to meet with President Jakaya Kikwete and to address the diplomatic and academic community in Dar Es Salaam. He was also to inaugurate an office in Zanzibar, provided by the regional government, to house all UN agencies.

Ban also planned to fly over the receding ice cap of Mount Kilimanjaro on his way to Arusha to visit the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, his next stop, the UN chief was to confer with President Joseph Kabila, parliamentarians and members of civil society. He was then to head to the eastern DRC city of Bukavu, capital of Sud-Kivu province, to inspect Panzi Hospital, where victims of sexual violence are cared for.

In Goma, Ban was to meet with members of the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUC) as well as with local authorities and visit a camp for people displaced by conflict.

The UN chief was then to fly to Kigali for talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Ban was to round up his trip in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, where on March 2, he was to attend an international conference aimed at bolstering the Palestinian economy and funding the reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip.

The parley is co-chaired by Egypt and Norway.


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