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In Mozambique, Annan sees model of progress for Africa and the world

In Mozambique, Annan sees model of progress for Africa and the world

Continuing an official visit to Mozambique, the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has hailed the country's progress as a model for others emerging from war.

"Despite the very real challenges that still confront your nation, what I have seen since arriving are, above all, the many and enduring dividends of a decade of peace," Mr. Annan said in a toast he delivered on Thursday evening at a dinner hosted by President Joaquin Chissano. "Mozambique's hard-won stability provides an example to every nation striving to rebuild after conflict and turmoil, not least in the African continent."

The country's progress had "special significance" for the UN, the Secretary-General added. "It will be remembered as one of the biggest success stories in which we have been involved - in peace-making, peacekeeping, mine action, humanitarian and electoral assistance, and the repatriation of refugees," he said.

Mr. Annan pointed to several indicators of the country's advancement, including a growing economy despite natural disasters and the AIDS crisis, and noted that "Mozambique's continuing success story and the climate of trust it has generated is the best possible antidote to the sceptics and cynics about Africa."

The Secretary-General is scheduled to depart Mozambique on Sunday for Johannesburg, South Africa, where he will open the high-level segment of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on Monday.

In another development, a spokesman for Mr. Annan today issued a statement welcoming the "dynamism and commitment" of the young people from around the world set to gather from 7 to 11 September in Alexandria, Egypt, at the Youth Employment Summit - a global civil society initiative.

"He urges the international community to fulfil the commitment it made in the Millennium Declaration to 'develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work,'" the statement said.