Wed, Nov 29, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Officials deny vice president mulled dropping Africa trip

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Presidential Office yesterday dismissed speculation that Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) had declined to visit Burkina Faso, saying that she would make a trip to the African ally as scheduled.

"The vice president will visit Burkina Faso but details are still being arranged," said an aide at Lu's office who asked not to be named. "The vice president has never wanted to cancel the trip nor was she upset that the president announced the plan on her behalf."

The aide made the remarks in response to a report published in yesterday's Chinese-language United Evening News that claimed that there were two possibile reasons why Lu did not want to go Burkina Faso after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) announced on Nov. 22 that she would make a visit next month.

First, the report said, Lu would not want to go because she wanted to chair a meeting of the Democratic Pacific Union (DPU), an organization of 28 democratic countries from the Asia-Pacific region that she cofounded in August last year.

This year's DPU meeting is scheduled to begin on Dec. 8 and run through Dec. 10.

Second, the report said, diplomatic sources had indicated that the Burkina Faso government did not think a trip by Lu would be necessary because President Blaise Compaore had visited Taiwan just last week so there might not be anything important left for Lu and Compaore to talk about.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had recommended Lu postpone the trip, the report said.

Out of fear that canceling the trip might be interpreted as a sign of deteriorating relations between Lu and Chen, the report said Lu eventually decided to go.

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