8 December 2013

South Africa: UN Secretary General Hails Nelson Mandela

Paris — THE summit on peace and security in Africa commenced on Saturday afternoon with several leaders underscoring the importance of the two issues for sustainable development.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said economic and social development can sustainably be achieved in a peaceful environment: "The UN is pleased with the unfolding peace and security in most parts of Africa.

Many African countries are making progress towards peace and democracy, save for a few places including Mali; Central African Republic, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

" There are some good developments in Somalia where government institutions are being established; while in the DRC the defeat of M23 has brought about hope for peace," said Ban in his remarks.

He commended the UN force for good work in DRC. Ban noted that the peace and security summit for Africa was taking place a day after the passing of Nelson Mandela who was the champion of peace; humility and human dignity. "Mandela was not a person fond of self-aggrandizement.

I met him for the first time in February 2009, when I thanked him for liberating his country from apartheid and for his contribution to global peace, Mandela refused the compliments.

"He simply said that the work of liberating South Africa was the effort of thousands of known and unknown people who fought for their country, some advised him or prayed for him and pressed for his release. It was not the work of a single person," he said.

Ban said such a response mesmerised him and demonstrated Mandela' s humility despite his great sacrifice and contribution to democracy and inspiration to millions in Africa and beyond. The summit ends today and was attended by President Kikwete.

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