Vienna, 17 June 2012 - On the occasion of the election of the South African Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the new Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger stressed the importance of the AU for peace, security, and development on the continent. "For the first time, a woman was elected to lead the African Union Commission", said Spindelegger, "this is a milestone and a signal of the significant changes taking place on this continent. I congratulate Minister Dlamini-Zuma for this responsible position".
Great challenges for the development of Africa are awaiting the new Commission Chairperson. In recent years, the AU has grown considerably in political significance and is assuming an increasingly important role in the integration of the continent. Its extensive agenda includes issues of inter African trade, the development of infrastructure, the responsible exploitation of raw materials, climate change, as well as the resolution of numerous conflicts on the continent. In this context, Spindelegger welcomed the announcement of the Presidents of Sudan Omar Hassan Al Bashir, and of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit on the sidelines of the AU summit in Addis Abeba, to solve their differences with peaceful means.
The AU has become an important partner for the European Union. "Europe and Africa are direct neighbours, and we are bound by multifaceted common interests", said Spindelegger. "We agree that democratization and good governance, the fight against poverty, food security, protection of human rights and legal certainty constitute the foundations for sustainable development and a prerequisite for peace and security." Spindelegger expressed his hope that the new Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dlamini-Zuma, will continue the constructive cooperation between the two organisations.
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