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UN Secretary-General calls for more attention to refugees

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Addis Ababa, February 9, 2019 (FBC) –The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on African leaders to pay special attention to refugees.

In a joint press conference he issued along with Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in Addis Ababa today, the Secretary-General said Africans need to address the root causes of migration.

Guterres highlighted the important of ensuring sustainable development path and resolving election-related conflicts peacefully and through dialogue.

The majority of African migration is within Africa, however, he said, the highest number of victims is those illegal migrants traveling to Europe and other countries by sea.

He further said Africa is suffering from the impact of climate change while it doesn’t contribute to global warming.

Citing the Ethio-Eritrea reconciliation and the peace deal signed between South Sudanese conflicting parts as cases in point, the Secretary-General said there is a wind of hope blowing in various parts of Africa.

In an exclusive interview with VOA last Tuesday, Guterres said reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea has illustrated bright spots on the African horizon.

“The reconciliation is having a positive effect throughout the Horn of Africa,” he said.

“We see negotiations between Djibouti and Eritrea, and we see reconciliation between Eritrea and Somalia that already took place,” he said.

“We see in many other areas movement in the right direction, and we are totally committed to work together – the African Union and the African sub-regional organizations – to support this wind of hope.”

The Secretary-General further stated that there has been a “quantum leap” in relations between the world body and the AU and he hopes this can translate into progress on some of the continent’s biggest challenges.

“I am totally committed to the cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations,” Guterres.

“We are working more and more together in addressing a number of situations in Africa.”

Guterres will attend 32nd AU summit, scheduled to take place 10-11 February 2019 in Addis Ababa under the theme “The Year of Refugees, Returnees, and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa”.