Addis Ababa — THE new United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Mr Jan Eliasson from Sweden, has hailed his predecessor, Dr Asha-Rose Migiro, for her exemplary records at the world body and pledged to build on her legacy.
In his statement at the opening ceremony of the 19th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly here yesterday on behalf of the Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, Mr Eliasson pledged to build on Dr Migiro's legacy.
"I take up my new post as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations in the footsteps of a very distinguished African, Her Excellency Asha-Rose Migiro, who left a sterling record of service to the world organization. I want to build on her legacy," he said, amidst applause.
Mr Eliasson, who addressed the summit in both fluent English and French, sent a message across the fully-packed SummitÕs hall that Africa will always be "a high priority and special concern for my work at the United Nations.
Briefing the Summit on his work so far at the UN, where he said he has been honoured to work with several prominent personalities, including AU special envoy to Darfur, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Mr Eliasson saw great need to continue seriously addressing the real problems people all over the world faced on a daily basis.
He mentioned them as poverty, diseases, natural disasters, environmental degradation, conflict and violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. "For Somalia, we are seeing the prospect for a peaceful future, thanks in large part to the extraordinary contributions and sacrifices of the African Union, AMISOM and the troop-contributing countries. This vision should extend to cover the Horn of Africa as well," he said.
On the Guinea-Bissau situation, Mr Eliasson told African leaders that the UN was committed to working with the AU to help the troubled Western-African country resolve its crisis and ensure an immediate return to civilian rule. As for Mali, Mr Eliasson urged ECOWAS and the UN to continue working together as well as with the transitional government and the country's neighbours to restore territorial integrity and human security.
He expressed concern on the conflict in Sudan and South Sudan and welcomed initiatives to achieve peace in what was once a single nation. He welcomed the resumption of talks under the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (HIP) to ensure restoration of peace in the two countries and thus prevent human tragedy there.