Amid moves towards forum on Great Lakes, Annan renews his envoy's mandate

Amid moves towards forum on Great Lakes, Annan renews his envoy's mandate

With hopes growing for the convening of an international conference on the Great Lakes, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has decided to renew the mandate of his envoy to that region of Africa, according to an exchange of letters released today in New York.

In one of the letters, Mr. Annan informs the Security Council that his Special Representative to the Great Lakes, Berhanu Dinku, had been soliciting the views of countries in the region regarding the proposed meeting.

"Opinion seems to be gaining within and outside Africa that the time to intensify efforts for the proposed International Conference on the Great Lakes is fast approaching," Mr. Annan writes in the letter dated 21 November. He adds that he has transmitted to the leaders of the region a concept paper prepared by Mr. Dinka on the organization of the conference. "I have asked Mr. Dinka to consult with the leaders on the matter and to submit to me his assessment and proposals on the way to proceed."

Mr. Dinka, whose mandate will be renewed for one year starting 1 January 2002, is also representing the Secretary-General at deliberations under the Arusha peace process in Burundi, and addressing the regional dimensions of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through, among others, close interaction with his Special Representative to that country.

In response, the President of the 15-member body informed the Secretary-General that the Security Council had taken note of his intentions.