UN chief on Ramadan solidarity visit to Africa

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, on Dec. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/Xie E)

United Nations, April 30 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will begin a “Ramadan solidarity visit” on Saturday to Senegal, Niger and Nigeria, said his Deputy spokesman.

Guterres will meet and share an Iftar dinner with President Macky Sall of Senegal, who assumed the presidency of the African Union earlier this year. He will also take part in Eid celebrations with President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger and he is scheduled to meet President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman, added on Friday.

Monday is Eid al-Fitr, a religious holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan that is celebrated by Muslims worldwide, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the three countries, the Secretary-General will have meetings with senior government officials as well as civil society representatives, including women, youth groups and religious leaders. He will meet families deeply affected by violence and instability in the Sahel, including people internally displaced and refugees, said Haq.

The UN chief will also see first-hand the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and will assess progress and challenges to the Covid-19 recovery, he added.

Guterres began annual Ramadan solidarity visits when he was UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He is resuming this tradition, which was interrupted by Covid-19.

The Africa trip follows his visits to Moscow and Kiev to push for peace in Ukraine. the UN chief met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev.

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