United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, from Abuja, Nigeria, in the evening of Tuesday, 24 May. That night, he had a working dinner with Tedros Ghebreyesus, Minister for Health of Ethiopia.
The next day, the Secretary-General visited two health facilities in the Amhara State region of Ethiopia: the Ambo Mesk health post and the Merawi health centre. At the health post, a small community facility that is the first lifeline to medical needs, he met with health extension workers who are providing essential services to communities previously living without ready access to such care. He also met with the villagers who benefit from these services.
He said the health extension programme was very important considering the long distances villagers have to travel to get care and the lack of transportation. He said that through this, needless deaths could be avoided and that the lives of many children and women could be saved by training health workers and midwives.
The Secretary-General then toured a larger health centre, a few kilometres away, which supports the health post by providing it with supplies and on-the-job training. He talked with doctors and nurses about their work as well as with some of the patients at the centre.
The Secretary-General then headed to Addis Ababa to take part in the opening of the Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on the state of peace and security in Africa. In his speech, he said that this was a time of historic developments on the continent. (See Press Release SG/SM/13599)
On Côte d’Ivoire, he laid out the priorities set by the Government, such as the demobilization of militias, the collection of illicit weapons and national reconciliation, and said the United Nations would work closely with the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other international partners to support the Ivorian Government in these critical areas.
On Sudan, he said that key post-independence arrangements had to be agreed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) if the establishment of a new State in the South on 9 July was to be peaceful.
On Somalia, the Secretary-General said the peace process was at a critical juncture and that the Transitional Federal Institutions must deliver on the political and development tracks.
Finally, on Libya, he welcomed the spirit of collaboration that has characterized the efforts of the United Nations and the African Union, and said there was a shared resolve to bring an end to the crisis and usher in an era of democracy and peace.
The Secretary-General met with the following officials on the margins of the Summit: Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy President of South Africa; Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea; Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal; Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Pierre Nkurunziza, President of Burundi; and Jean Ping, Chairman of the African Union Commission.
The main issues discussed were Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Côte d’Ivoire. On Libya, they discussed the attitudes at the African Union on the situation there and the likely outcome of the Summit. With the President of Burundi, the Secretary-General discussed that country’s contribution to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the political developments there. With the South African Deputy President, the Secretary-General also discussed climate change and sustainable development. The large gathering of African leaders in Addis Ababa also allowed the Secretary-General to have a series of useful informal conversations.
The Secretary-General left Addis Ababa for Paris, France, in the evening of 25 May.