Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali met with the following heads of State or Government on Friday, 20 October:

11 a.m. Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin; 12:30 p.m. Prime Minister of Sweden, Ingvar Carlsson; 3:45 p.m. President of Zaire, Mobuto Sese Seko; 5:30 p.m. President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari; and 6 p.m. President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire.

In the Secretary-General's meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, Mr. Rabin apprised the Secretary-General of developments in the region, the progress in the peace agreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Jordan and the situation regarding the peace tracks with Syria and Lebanon. He thanked the United Nations for the positive contributions of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), especially in Gaza. The Secretary-General said United Nations assistance to Palestinians in Gaza would continue.

The Secretary-General and Mr. Rabin then discussed the work of the United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in Jerusalem and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). They also discussed the spread of fundamentalism in the region.

In the Secretary-General's meeting with the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ingvar Carlsson, the situation in the former Yugoslavia and forthcoming arrangements in the expectation of a peace agreement were discussed. The Prime Minister spoke of his efforts concerning the improvement of the United Nations financial situation and the reform of the Organization. He also referred to the efforts of the Commission on Global Governance, of which he is Co-Chairman. The Secretary-General thanked Sweden for its contribution to United Nations peace-keeping operations and expressed his appreciation to Prime Minister Carlsson for his presence in New York to participate in the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations.

When the Secretary-General met with the President of Zaire, Mobuto Sese Seko, the centre of their discussion was the question of the Rwandese refugees in Zaire. The President underlined the heavy burden placed on the people of Zaire by the presence of more than 1 million refugees. He stated that his Government was looking forward to an urgent solution to the refugees situation. The Secretary-General expressed his understanding for the heavy price the people of Zaire were paying as a result of the presence in their territory of such a significant number of refugees. He had the opportunity to personally assess the situation during his visit to the Great Lakes region last July. He stressed the need to support international efforts aiming at ensuring an orderly and voluntary return, and subsequent repatriation of the Rwandese refugees.

The Secretary-General informed the President of the establishment of the Inquiry Commission charged with the investigation of the circulation of arms in the region and expressed the hope that Zaire would lend its support to work of the Commission. The Secretary-General also discussed with the President the mission of his Special Envoy on the convening of the Conference on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes of Central Africa.

The President informed the Secretary-General that he was committed to the holding of the elections as scheduled in July 1997. He added that his Government was finalizing a request for United Nations electoral assistance. The Secretary-General stated that the United Nations had been offering electoral assistance to more than 40 countries and promised to consider the request of Zaire positively.

In the Secretary-General's meeting with the President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire, the President expressed his country's gratitude to the United Nations for the assistance offered to Botswana and the neighbouring countries which were suffering from severe drought. The President paid particular tribute to the role played by the United Nations volunteers, as well as the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The President stated that his Government was supportive of the United Nations and its activities, especially those related to the areas of conflict in Africa.

The Secretary-General thanked the President for Botswana's support for the United Nations as demonstrated by its active participation in the Security Council. He expressed his gratitude for the generous contribution of Botswana to the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM I), UNOSOM II, and the United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR).

The Secretary-General commended the Government of Botswana for holding regular elections since independence, thus giving an example of a successful democracy in Africa. He also expressed his appreciation for the positive role played by the President in settling the constitutional crisis in Lesotho during 1994 to 1995. The Secretary-General praised President Masire's skilful Chairmanship of the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) for the past two years.

The summary of the Secretary-General's meeting with the President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, will be issued when available.


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For information media. Not an official record.