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11.12.2007 General News

EU Africa Summit Ends

By Daily Guide
EU Africa Summit Ends

African and European leaders have hailed their two-day summit in the Portuguese Capital, Lisbon, as a significant turning point in the relations of their two continents. President John Agyekum Kufuor, Chairman of the African Union (AU), said at a joint press conference that the open, frank and direct talking had put Europe-Africa relations on a new platform "that eschews impunity and imposition."

There was now the spirit of mutual respect, goodwill and equality, he added.

The Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr. Jose Socrates, whose country holds the EU Presidency, Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the EU Commission and Mr Alpha Omar Konare, Chairman of the AU Commission, all shared this view.

The meeting attracted a record number of Heads of State and Government, as well as International Organisations and Civil Society groups.

It ended with the signing of a new strategic partnership pact, at the heart of which are the promotion of peace and security, good governance, democracy and trade.

President Kufuor expressed optimism that the partnership they had entered into would help the two continents to make positive impact on globalisation.

He underlined the need for Africa and Europe, to constantly engage each other for the benefit of their peoples.

Prime Minister Socrates said the summit gave "voice to everyone and every issue", adding that, it would go down in history as having created a new sense of friendship and respect, an important requirement for a more just globalisation.

Mr Barroso, called on both sides to match their commitment with concrete deeds for concrete results.

He also responded to concerns about the Economic Partnership Agreement with Africa and said the EU was ready to dialogue and address those concerns to help create a better system that would work.

Africa's exports that stood at 2.1 percent, 30 years ago, had dropped to 0.9 percent, whilst that of all other developing countries outside the continent had doubled.

He said it was this that the EPA was seeking to address. Mr Konare, however, warned that, there could be a problem if signing of the EPA should be based on the weakness and lack of unity of Africans. 10 Dec. 2007

From Kwaku Osei Bonsu, Lisbon, Portugal