African and European leaders yesterday ended their two-day summit in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, with the adoption of a declaration pledging their commitment to a new strategic partnership based on interdependence, equal sovereignty and respect.
“In recognition of our ambitions, and of all that we share today and have shared in the past, we are resolved to build a new strategic political partnership for the future, overcoming the traditional donor-recipient relationship and building on common values and goals in our pursuit of peace and stability, democracy and rule of law, progress and development,” the declaration said.
Additionally, it reinforced the determination of the two continents to work together on key political challenges like energy, climate change, immigration and gender issues.
The Lisbon Declaration also underlined the resolve of the European Union (EU) and Africa to engage as equals in order to achieve significant results in their fundamental commitment, including the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the establishment of a robust security architecture in Africa, the strengthening of investment, growth and prosperity through regional integration, and the promotion of good governance and human rights.
“We are determined to give this strategic partnership the necessary means and instruments that will enable it to fulfil the Joint Strategy and Action Plan we have adopted today,” it said.
To do that, the document said, they had created comprehensive and effective follow-up mechanisms to deliver the goals and show results at their next summit in 2010.
“We believe that this summit will be remembered as a moment of recognition of maturity and transformation in our continent-to-continent dialogue, opening new paths and opportunities for our common future,” it added.
The Chairman of the African Union (AU), President John Agyekum Kufuor, and Portuguese Prime Minister, Mr Jose Socrates, whose country holds the EU Presidency, co-chaired the summit, attended by 66 Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe.
It took place at a time when there was growing Chinese investment and influence and a recognition that the continent was no longer “Europe's private hunting grounds”.
Previous attempts to hold EU-Africa summits collapsed over the question of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's attendance.
Meanwhile, the United Nations and the government of Sudan have re-affirmed their commitment to ongoing and intensive technical effort which would be required for the timely deployment of the UN Hybrid Force in the Sudan's Darfur Region.
At their meeting on the margins of the EU-Africa Summit, representatives from the two sides recognised that the peacekeeping force would play a critical role in bringing peace and stability to Darfur and agreed on the need to get the troops on the ground without further delay.
In that regard, the two delegations agreed to address identified areas where technical clarity was required to allow for the full and timely deployment of the UN-AU Force.
They also expressed concern about the critical gaps in the capabilities of the force, particularly military aviation, and called on the international community to provide those capabilities.