Sun, Jul 16, 2006 - Page 3 News List

African leaders push for conference with Taiwanese

CNA , TAIPEI

Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said yesterday that several leaders of the nation's African allies have suggested holding a "Taiwan-Africa summit" during his recent six-nation diplomatic tour of that continent.

Huang said the idea was a good one, and that he would report the matter to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and make an assessment of the possibility.

Huang has just returned from a tour of Malawi, Swaziland, Sao Tome and Principe, Gambia, Burkina Faso and Chad.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) visited Africa in the first half of the year, Huang said, and China is expected to invite its African allies to a Central Africa forum in November.

Huang said during his recent visit that several African presidents had suggested the idea of a summit meeting to increase exchanges between Taiwan and African nations.

BENEFICIAL

He believed that a summit would be beneficial for Taiwan as it would galvanize the nation's diplomatic efforts on the continent, and amplify the voices of allies as they speak up for Taiwan on such issues as the long-frustrated bid to join the UN.

But Huang said that the summit may be difficult to organize around the various leaders' busy schedules, the opening of the UN General Assembly in September, the religious observances of Ramadan (the month of fasting) and Christmas holidays.

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