U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan starts two-week African tour

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived in South Africa on Monday at the start of a two-week tour of five African nations.

He was due to meet South African President Thabo Mbeki and address parliament Tuesday and visit anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela on Wednesday before traveling to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.

He will also visit the Republic of Congo, whose president is chairman of the African Union, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than 16,000 U.N. troops are trying to keep a fragile peace and help the troubled nation prepare for elections. Annan hopes to travel to the Congolese city of Kisangani in the restive eastern part of the country.

Annan, who was accompanied by his wife Nane, said he was pleased to be in Cape Town but made no other comment.

At Tuesday's meeting, he is expected to canvass Mbeki for support of his U.N. reform proposals. South Africa is the current head of the Group of 77 developing countries and holds huge economic and diplomatic clout in Africa, reports the AP.

I.L.