Ministerial meeting on Africa highlights January agenda of UN Security Council

Ministerial meeting on Africa highlights January agenda of UN Security Council

While keeping a close watch on the Haitian elections, the crisis in the Horn of Africa and other hotspots around the world, the United Nations Security Council plans to hold a ministerial-level meeting on Africa’s Great Lakes region as a high point of its January agenda, the body’s President for the month said today.“This is time to revisit and have a high-profile discussion involving the ministers after the Security Council Mission of last year,” said Augustine Mahiga, Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, which holds the rotating Presidency for January, as he outlined the month’s agenda at a Headquarters press conference.Mr. Mahiga said that his country, being part of the Great Lakes region, was naturally concerned with recent, mostly positive, developments involving its neighbours. The 27 January meeting will be a particularly opportune time to assess developments in Burundi following its successful transition to a democratically elected Government, and to give encouragement to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following the recent referendum that should lead to elections on 30 June, he said.“We expect this to be a very important meeting with some important outcomes,” Mr. Mahiga said, predicting that the Council would adopt a related resolution aimed at helping to consolidate peace in the region.The meeting would be attended not only by foreign ministers from the Great Lakes region, but also by those of Council members. Also invited was the diplomatic Group of Friends of the Great Lakes, which includes the European Union, Scandinavian countries, Canada and the United States.Among other central topics to be addressed in January will be the Haitian elections, which were scheduled to be held early in the month but have been postponed. Council Members want to learn more about the circumstances of that delay, so have called a meeting on an urgent basis for Friday.Another urgent matter is the current situation of the UN Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), which Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently called “untenable” because of tensions between the two Horn of Africa countries. Consultations on that issue are expected on 9 January.Briefings or reports on the Sudan, DRC, Afghanistan, Western Sahara, Côte d’Ivoire, Kosovo and other issues on the Council’s agenda have been scheduled as well.On 23 January the Council will discuss the UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) at a public meeting which will be addressed by that country’s President.

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