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Press Release
Jean Asselborn: "Today our dialogue with Africa has reached a degree of maturity that enables us to raise all the important issues"

Date of release : 11-04-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : EU-Africa (Troika)

Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration and current President of the Council of the European Union, hosted Nigeria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the African Union (AU), Olu Adeniji, in the context of a European Troika meeting with Africa on 11 April 2005 in Luxembourg.

The following also attended the meeting on the European Union side: the Secretary General of the Council and High Representative of the European Union for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana, and the Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel. The AU delegation consisted of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, Alcinda Abreu, as well as Commissioners Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, Said Djinnit and Elisabeth Tankeu.

At a press briefing after the meeting, Jean Asselborn made the following comments:

"Today we met with our African partners for the fourth EU-Africa Ministerial Troika here in Luxembourg. As you know, the previous troikas were held in Rome, Dublin and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Beginning in 2002, the creation of the African Union gave brand new impetus to our partnership. By stressing African ownership of Africa’s fate, the African Union breathed new life not only into continental cooperation, but into the dialogue with its third-party partners as well.

During our ministerial discussions, the quality of the dialogue between the European Union and Africa increased substantially. Today our dialogue has reached a level of maturity  that enables us to raise all the important issues, all the issues of mutual interest in an open and candid manner, equal-to-equal obviously, so that together we can seek solutions to the problems that Africa faces and those that Europe faces as well.

During our meeting, I submitted a non-paper to the African party on behalf of the European Union. The non-paper contains avenues for reflection on the means to strengthen our dialogue and to make it even more effective. Among other things, the idea is to overcome together the consequences of the postponement of the Europe-Africa Summit which was scheduled for April 2003. Together we decided during the discussion to consider the recommendations in this paper at an upcoming ministerial.

We also discussed the current situation in several African countries, particularly in the Sudan, Somalia, in Cote d’Ivoire and even in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The EU expressed its concerns over the conduct of parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe, held in late March.

In the area of peace and security, we took stock of strengthening African capacities in the area of conflict prevention, which the EU supported. We also mentioned the fight against terrorism, for which I saluted the innovative role of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism.

With our African partners, next we addressed the issue of "governance" in Africa: good governance, observation of elections, and human rights. The EU saluted the development of institutions that support the rule of law and promote human rights by the African Union. On behalf of the EU, I emphasised the link between the observance of human rights and the commitment to peace in Africa, a link so brilliantly illustrated by Professor Maathai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Regional integration, key development issues and preparations for the upcoming United Nations Summit were also on the agenda of our conversations."

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This page was last modified on : 26-04-2005

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