Eritrea: President holds talks with UNSC's Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs in the Horn of Africa

Asmara, 22 June 2007 - President Isaias Afwerki today received and held talks with Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs in the Horn of Africa.

In the meeting, the President explained the endeavors being made by the Eritrean people to achieve food security and development tasks in general on the basis of self-reliance. He stated that the Eritrean government is ready to hold discussions with the UN agencies on possible contributions they could make to Eritrea's efforts in this regard. President Isaias underlined that UN collaboration should not be confined to emergency assistance.

The UN official on his part assured the President that he would give close attention to Eritrea's short and long-term programs towards achieving food security. Earlier, Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik held exchange of views with the ministers of agriculture and labor and human welfare on UN role in the attainment of food security.

In a press conference he gave at Hotel Intercontinental Asmara following the meetings, the UN official indicated that Eritrea is making commendable efforts to achieve food security. He said that this experience is worth emulating by other countries.

Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik added that free food aid distribution has long been abandoned in Eritrea and instead cash- for- food is now being applied.

The UN official went on to say that a conference that 5 countries including Eritrea are scheduled to hold a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, next week on ensuring food security in the Horn of Africa.

He further expressed his admiration to the Eritrean government's endeavors to promote peace and stability in the Horn.