Fri, Nov 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

President plans to attend next year's African summit

AFRICAN ALLIES Chen said he planned to be in Malawi for the leaders' summit next year, and also expressed a desire to visit Burkina Faso

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday he plans to attend the nation's first-ever leaders' summit with its African allies in Malawi in March next year.

Taiwan has five diplomatic allies in Africa. They are Malawi, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Swaziland.

Chen yesterday also accepted the invitation of Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, who is in Taipei for a five-day visit, to visit the west African country next year.

Chen said on Monday that he would like to visit Burkina Faso in May to preside over the ground-breaking ceremony for a medical center there.

Communique

Compaore extended the invitation before the two signed a joint communique, in which the two leaders expressed regret over China's continued use of military intimidation against Taiwan and pledged to work for regional peace and stability.

Chen reiterated his resolve to conduct talks with China on the foundation of national sovereignty and expressed his hope that cross-strait peace and stability could be facilitated via peaceful negotiations.

Compaore expressed gratitude over the means proposed and hoped both sides of the Taiwan Strait could resume dialogue. Compaore also reiterated his administration's determination to help Taiwan join international organizations such as the UN.

Chen and Compaore called on the international community to engage in talks in a bid to achieve sustainable peace for the people of both nations.

Earlier in the afternoon, Chen met a delegation led by Joyce Hilda Banda, Malawi's minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, at the Presidential Office.

In addition to praising Banda's "outstanding achievement" in politics and academics, Chen asked Banda to relay his gratitude to Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika, who led a delegation to this year's UN General Assembly and spoke in favor of Taiwan's accession to the international body.

As this year marks the 40th anniversary of Malawi's independence and the establishment of bilateral ties between the two countries, Chen said he had assigned Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) to attend Malawi's independence day celebrations.

Cooperation

Chen said he was happy with the cooperation between the two countries and promised to increase the funding for the construction of a government building in Malawi.

Other cooperative projects include the digitalization of the Malawian government and the construction of a highway.

Chen said the helicopters and speed boats the administration had promised to Malawi would be delivered as soon as certain technical problems were overcome.

The four locomotives that had been delivered to Malawi would be up and running soon, he said.

While hosting a state banquet in honor of Compaore and his entourage at the Kaohsiung Grand Hotel on Wednesday, Chen said that Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) would make a formal visit to Burkina Faso next month to further boost Taiwan's cooperation with its African ally.

Additional reporting by CNA

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