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UN chief welcomes "positive development" in Malawi

(Xinhua)

10:03, August 18, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon welcomed on Wednesday the "positive development" in the signing of the joint communique by the government of Malawi and civil society organizations in the midst of the country's economic challenges.

Following a meeting facilitated by the United Nations in Malawi capital Lilongwe on Aug. 16, the "secretary-general welcomes the signing of the joint communique by representatives of the government of Malawi and of the civil society organizations," said a statement released by Ban's spokesperson.

"The secretary-general is encouraged by this positive development which reflects the commitment of both sides to engage constructively in the search for a peaceful solution to the country's current difficulties," said the statement.

In the statement, Ban also said he saw it as an "important step towards a dialogue process."

"He calls on the Malawian stakeholders to continue their efforts to create a political and social atmosphere conducive to addressing the multifaceted challenges in the country," said the statement.

In the statement, Ban noted the "UN's readiness to continue its facilitation efforts as requested by the parties."

The Malawian government has faced challenges in building and expanding the economy, improving education, health care, environment protection, and becoming financially independent.

Tensions have been growing in Malawian President Mutharika's second term due to fuel shortages and price hikes with rising unemployment and a worsening economy.

In July, the civil society in Malawi took to the streets in protests against what they call economic hardships.

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