Plassnik: "A new quality of relations between the EU and Africa"
Foreign Minister on the run-up to the EU-Africa Summit
Vienna, 6 December 2007 - "The EU-Africa Summit is more than overdue - there has not been such a meeting since the year 2000," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on the run-up to the EU-Africa Summit scheduled for 8 and 9 December in Lisbon. Moreover, it is the first summit at which the African Union and its Commission will participate.
The decision on the EU-Africa Strategy is at the centre of the summit in Lisbon. Plassnik: "We have been steadily building up our partnership with Africa in recent years - the next stage will now be the decision on the specific structure of our relations in the coming years. This common strategy is a clear orientation for the next ten years. Our relationship will thus receive a new, more demanding quality based on respect and self-responsibility," said the Foreign Minister. For the first time, the strategy linked the topics of peace and security with sustainable development. It expresses how the EU sees its relationship with Africa: "It is about equal and fair cooperation."
The Foreign Minister added that "the first concrete Austrian initiatives are already on the table: In November, together with my colleague from Burkina Faso, Drjibrill Bassolé and the 15 members of ECOWAS, I organized a conference on 'Peace and Security in West Africa' in Ouagadougou. We will present the results at the Lisbon summit with Mohamed Chambas, Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States, and Gomes Cravinho, State Secretary of the Portuguese Foreign Ministry."
Upon the invitation of Foreign Minister Plassnik, a meeting will also take place in Lisbon between the Foreign Ministers of Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Greece, Cyprus, and the Commissioner of the African Union: "I want to strengthen women’s networks and make sure that women can also make a tangible contribution and fully exploit their potential in the area of peace and security," said Plassnik.
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