News 2008


"Leaders Must Think Beyond Own Interests", says Ban Ki-Moon

Business Daily (Nairobi)


12 February 2008

Ban Ki-Moon

Over the past month, I have been deeply engaged in the evolving situation in Kenya. As I warned at the African Union Summit, ethnic clashes threaten to escalate out of control.

During my visit, I told Kenya's leaders, President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, that they bear a particular political responsibility for the future of Kenya.

I stressed to all the Kenyan leaders the need to stop the unacceptable violence and killings and to resolve their differences through dialogue and the democratic process. I also appealed to all the political leaders to think beyond their individual interests or party lines, and to look to the future of Kenya as one country.

I reiterate my support to the mediation efforts of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities led by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. When I met him in Nairobi, we discussed in depth his roadmap for the talks.

The parties are now talking and discussing practical measures to stop the spiral of violence, to address the humanitarian crisis, and to restore fundamental human rights and liberties.

I have assigned several members of my staff to provide necessary assistance to Mr. Annan's team, and we have established a UNDP trust fund to support this.

With our partners, we have been able to meet the initial basic needs of displaced populations, totalling around 310,000 IDPs spread over 192 sites in the western and central provinces, and I [have] dispatched Mr John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General of the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, to look after these issues. Needless to say, much more needs to be done.

I urge donors to provide additional funding to address this grave emergency. Turning to the situation in Chad, I am alarmed by the deteriorating security situation in the capital, N'Djamena, and elsewhere. We can no longer guarantee the safety and security of UN staff in Chad and we have evacuated, with the help of the French Government, most of the personnel into neighbouring countries, in Cameroon and Gabon.

However, a small number of personnel from Minurcat in N'Djamena, and some other UN agencies are still remaining. We will take necessary measures in close cooperation with the French Government when it is necessary.

The UN will do its utmost to help resolve the crisis. I welcome the initiative of the African Union to have designated leaders of Libya and the Republic of Congo to mediate this issue. It has devastating consequences not only for the people of Chad and Darfurian refugees seeking shelter there, but also for Darfur itself.

Ban Ki-Moon is the UN secretary- general.