29 April 1996

Press Release


19960429 MIDRAND, 27 April -- On the third day of his official visit, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali went to Pretoria to take part in the celebrations for the national day of South Africa, Freedom Day, which marks the first free democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. Also present at the celebrations were King Hussein of Jordan, President Jose-Maria Figueres of Costa Rica, President Jean-Pascal Delamuraz of Switzerland and President Benjamin Mkapa of the United Republic of Tanzania.

In his address, the President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, paid tribute not only to the South African people but also to Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali and the heads of State present who helped to break the back of apartheid. He thanked the United Nations to have allowed South Africa to host the ninth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD IX), a fact which demonstrated that his country had become an equal and proud participant of world affairs.

At noon, the Secretary-General attended a luncheon hosted by President Mandela in honour of UNCTAD IX. After the lunch, the Secretary-General met for 30 minutes with Thabo Mbeki, Deputy Executive President of South Africa.

At 3 p.m., the Secretary-General attended the opening ceremony of UNCTAD IX. After President Mandela's address, the Secretary-General delivered the opening address. (See Press Release SG/SM/5971, of 26 April.)

Later, the Secretary-General attended two round tables organized by UNCTAD aimed at addressing the major challenge on the eve of new millennium, the exclusion of 2 billion people and the need to integrate them into the global economy. Participants at the first round table were the heads of State attending the Conference: the King of Jordan and the Presidents of South Africa, Costa Rica, the United Republic of Tanzania and Switzerland. At 5:30 p.m., the Secretary-General chaired the second round table, the participants of which were: Michael Camdessus, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Rubens Ricupero, Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Renato Ruggiero, Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Sven Sandstrom, Managing Director, World Bank; and James Gustave Speth, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. (See Press Release TAD/1821.)

Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will leave Johannesburg to Nairobi where he will chair the meeting of the Administrative Committee on Coordination.

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For information media. Not an official record.