Ban Ki-moon calls for strengthened partnership with Africa, lauds French efforts

Ban Ki-moon calls for strengthened partnership with Africa, lauds French efforts

Reiterating his commitment to support Africa’s efforts to end the violent conflicts on the continent as well as achieve sustainable development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for strengthened partnerships, as he also thanked France for its efforts to assist African countries “at a number of critical junctures.”

Mr. Ban’s remarks were delivered by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh at the five-day France-Afrique Summit in the resort of Cannes, which is being attended by French President Jacques Chirac along with a number of African leaders.

“France and Africa have a long and special relationship to which both sides attach great importance. This relationship has enabled France to support Africa at a number of critical junctures,” he said, noting France’s efforts, in support of the UN and African regional organizations, to resolve “the crises that continue to plague the African continent.”

Mr. Ban also highlighted his own experiences in Africa, including last month’s attendance at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, as well as visits to other countries on the continent where he was struck both by the “enormous potential,” but also the “huge challenges” that lie ahead.

“I had constructive meetings with a large number of African leaders, to whom I reaffirmed that, under my stewardship, the United Nations will give high priority to Africa,” Mr. Ban said in a speech that also stressed the importance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of globally agreed targets that aim to deal with a host of social ills – including eradicating extreme poverty – by 2015.

“I am determined to do everything possible to support Africa’s own courageous efforts to end violent conflict, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and to be a full and effective partner in international affairs,” the Secretary-General pledged.

“In these efforts, it is encouraging to know that France remains a strong partner, as it is across the spectrum of United Nations concerns. Let us strengthen that spirit of partnership – and of solidarity with Africa’s people.”