UN Chief meets with Mali President on first leg of Sahel tourListen /
The UN Secretary-General has arrived in Bamako, the capital of Mali, the first leg of his tour in the Sahel region of Africa.
He is travelling with a high-power delegation, including the President of the World Bank, the President of the African Development Bank, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the European Union Commissioner for Development.
Mr. Ban's aim is to raise support for the region which is plagued by insecurity and struggling with natural disasters.
André-Michel Essoungou, UN Public Information Officer, is travelling with the Secretary-General.
For UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the four top officials travelling with him to the Sahel, it was fitting to start their tour at a regional gathering.
At a meeting convened by President Keita of Mali this morning in Bamako, the UN chief listened to a general and strong expression of support to his strategy for the region.
"Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General for bringing to Mali and to the Sahel, this impressive team, and much needed support" said President Keita in his remarks. Expressing agreement with Ban Ki-moon, World Bank head Jim Kim, noted the synergies between the UN strategy and the Bank's plan for the Sahel. "You have brought multilateral cooperation at levels never reached before," he added, addressing the Secretary-General.
The UN Strategy for the Sahel aims to bring together countries of the Sahel and their international partners to meet the challenges facing the region: security, governance and resilience.
"We need regional solutions to face regional challenges," Ban Ki-moon said at the meeting. But first, he added, "We are here to listen to your priorities. The priorities of the people of the Sahel will guide our actions."
All the speakers condemned the killing of two French journalists in northern Mali three days ago; noting that it was a tragic illustration of the persisting insecurity in that region.
Andre-Michel Essoungou, travelling with the Secretary-General, United Nations.