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UN Chief Addresses AU Summit, Says Africa a Continent of Hope

FILE - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the U.N. headquarters, Oct. 5, 2018.
FILE - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the U.N. headquarters, Oct. 5, 2018.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday told reporters that Africa was a continent of hope and opportunity despite the problems it faces.

The U.N. chief was speaking at the African Union (AU) Summit, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Guterres said Africa now signals that conflicts can be resolved and avoided.
"Many see Africa as a continent with problems. We see Africa is a continent of hope and opportunity. Of course there are many problems of the African continent there are many unsolved situations there are many conflicts we have as it was said this morning a very serious problem of the refugees and displaced persons but it is also true that is in Africa that there are now signals that conflicts can be resolved and that conflict can be avoided," said Guterres.

African leaders are meeting at the summit that brings together 55 members states.

Guterres thanked the AU Commission and African member states for supporting peace operations in the continent.
The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR says that Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than 26 percent of the world's refugee population, with conflicts and ongoing crises in the Central African Republic (CAR), Nigeria and South Sudan, as well as Burundi and Yemen, driving large increases in the numbers of refugees and displaced people.

The U.N. Secretary-General also noted earlier that reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea; the establishment of peace agreements in South Sudan; and recent elections in Democratic Republic of Congo, are some of the events producing results in conflict resolution and the prevention of conflicts, and that Africa is seeing a "wind of hope" that can be extended to other parts of the world.

The U.N. chief warned however that peace cannot exist without development.

Guterres has urged the international community to show more political will, particularly in climate action, and show support for mitigation, adaptation, and finance.

"Taking into account that one of the key components of the challenges that we face today in development is climate change that is why I once again sad that climate change is going faster than we are that time and change is the defining issue of our time is the biggest threat for humankind and for the planet and that it's absolutely essential to increase ambition in mitigation of the emissions and in adaptations of Countries to the consequences already inevitable but also in financing especially in financing in the developing world and in innovation in order to be able to contain this monster that is growing and threatening us all."

The two-day summit which opened on Sunday will focus on the issue of refugees and internally displaced persons this year. (Reuters)