11 July 2001


NEW YORK, 10 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the appointment of Amara Essy, Côte d’Ivoire, as Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU):

I welcome with great appreciation the appointment of Mr. Amara Essy (Côte d’Ivoire) as the next Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which occurs at a time of transition as the new African Union is to be structured and established, while the OAU as we know it is to be phased out. Mr. Essy is particularly well qualified to lead the organization during this challenging period.

Mr. Essy brings to the OAU his extensive regional and international diplomatic experience. He facilitated the peaceful resolution of many conflicts in Africa. As President of the 49th session of the United Nations General Assembly, he was known for effective leadership and a consensus builder. These skills will be critical in his new assignment at the OAU. As my Special Envoy to the Central African Republic last year, Mr. Essy contributed to the facilitation of the political crisis in the region. As we congratulate Mr. Essy on his appointment, we look forward to close collaboration with him in addressing issues affecting the African region.

The outgoing Secretary-General, Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim, has transformed the OAU in the 12 years of his tenure. Under his dynamic leadership, the OAU has become a bastion of African solidarity and undertaken efforts to address the problems and crises that have plagued the region. Working in close collaboration with the United Nations, the OAU under Mr. Salim's leadership has played a central role in the management of many conflicts in Africa, including Ethiopia/Eritrea, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the Comoros. His tenure marked the launching of several new initiatives, such as the establishment of the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention Management and Resolution and the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community.

I wish Mr. Salim well in his future endeavours.

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