Welcoming statement by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, His excellency Benjamin William Mkapa, at the first Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Dar Es Salaam, 19 November 2004




Chairperson; Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government;


Honourable Ministers and Heads of Delegation;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

On behalf of the people and government of the United Republic of Tanzania, I welcome you all to our country and to the city of Dar es Salaam-the haven of peace.

It is, indeed, appropriate that we should convene in this haven of peace in the collective search for a firm framework for durable peace and development in the Great Lakes region.

In a report released three months ago, the Secretary-General of the United Nations noted positive progress in the conflict situation in Africa, with only 5 African countries in situations of armed conflict, and very few facing deep political crises. He also noted that most African countries were enjoying relatively stable political conditions and were governed by democratically elected leaders. Africa is undergoing change;