Vienna, 28 September 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Learning from the resolution of past conflicts for Africa’s future"


Foreign Minister meets with counterparts from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Gambia and Liberia

New York, 28 September 2007 - "Making use of the valuable experiences gained by West Africa in overcoming conflicts to help resolve other conflicts in the future - this is the objective of our conference to be held in Ouagadougou in the middle of November," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik following her meeting with her colleague from Burkina Faso and current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Djibrill Bassolé, on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

The bilateral talks and the subsequent meeting with African participants focused on the joint conference on peace and security in West Africa. "With this initiative we want to make a contribution to sustainable peace in Africa. West Africa in particular can make available its rich experience in overcoming conflict situations and reconstructing societies and state structures. This precious experience should be exchanged with partners and become part of the joint EU-Africa strategy," continued the Foreign Minister.

"Africa is rich in talented people. Its potential must be leveraged and promoted through increased efforts in the field of education. Investment in education is therefore another cornerstone of sustainable development work in Africa," stated the Foreign Minister, pointing out that Burkina Faso had been a priority country of the Austrian Development Programme for more than ten years. Within this programme Austria supported concrete projects, notably in the fields of education and vocational training.

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