31 January 2017

Tanzania: New UN Chief Meets JPM, Pledges More Cooperation

The new Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Mr Antonio Guterres, has assured President John Magufuli of continued and strengthened cooperation from the global body on a number of issues, including handling of refugees from neighbouring countries.

The assurance from Mr Guterres came after a meeting with Dr Magufuli on the sidelines of the ongoing 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mr Guterres promised to woo various development stakeholders in the international circles to support Tanzania in hosting refugees, a task it has been undertaking since 1971.

Speaking at the occasion, President Magufuli congratulated the new UN SG, pledging as well that the government of Tanzania will continue to work closely with the global organisation. Dr Magufuli also briefed Mr Guterres on efforts being undertaken by Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC) as a whole to end political impasse in Burundi under mediation of former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.

President Magufuli told the UN Chief that there has been progress on efforts to address the situation in Bujumbura. In a related development, President Magufuli yesterday met and held talks with the President of Malawi, Professor Peter Mutharika, in which they discussed on strengthening bilateral and trade relations between the two countries.

The two leaders agreed to allow efforts by the team of former presidents led by former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano and the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation between the two countries to continue dealing with the border row on Lake Nyasa.

"They stressed that Tanzania and Malawi are friendly countries with longstanding relation which should be maintained," a statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communications stated yesterday.

The two presidents as well directed transport ministers from their countries to meet and chart strategies of introducing direct flights between the two countries in order to ease transport and boost trade.

On the sidelines of the AU Summit, Dr Magufuli also met with President Brahim Ghali of the Sahrawi Republic where President Magufuli maintained that Tanzania will continue its cooperation with the desert nation.

The Tanzania leader, who is attending the AU Summit for the first time since assuming power in November 2015, also attended the official opening of the 28th AU Heads of State and Government Summit, which was officiated by the ongoing Chairman of AU, President Idriss Deby of Chad.

During the opening ceremony, Mr Guterres hailed African countries for their efforts in maintaining peace and security in the continent. The Chadian president finally handed over the Chairmanship to President Alpha Conde of Guinea.

Meanwhile, Chad's Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Moussa Mahamat, has been elected Chairperson of the African Union Commission, taking over from Dr Nkosazama Dlamini Zuma of South Africa whose tenure has come to an end.

Mr Mahamat won with 38 votes against Kenya's Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed who got 26 votes. Ambassador Kwesi Quartey of Ghana was elected Vice-Chair of the AU Commission.

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