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25th Africa-France Summit

Published on June 2, 2010
Opening speech by Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic (excerpts)

Nice, May 31, 2010

(…)
I’m utterly convinced that it’s no longer possible to talk about the major issues of the world without the presence of Africa.

What underpins our firm belief is the clear awareness that our destinies are inextricably linked. Africa’s failure would be Europe’s tragedy. We, Europe and France, have a major interest in Africa’s success. Twelve kilometres separate our two continents, we share similar destinies, similar interests. (…)

Africa is our future. The African continent, which has long been on the sidelines, is increasingly establishing itself daily as an absolutely major player in international life. Africa’s tremendous demographic dynamism and substantial resources make it the global economy’s main potential for growth in the coming decades. Our own future depends to a great extent on Africa’s development and our shared ability to ensure its development, through peace and stability. (…)

In order resolutely to enter this partnership, we wanted to put three items at the centre of our discussions.

To begin with, the first item [on the agenda] – which can’t be ignored, we have no more time to lose – is that of Africa’s role in global governance.

Now things have to be clear, and everyone has to put their cards on the table. If we say we’re friends with Africa, then we must be ready to make a place for Africa in global governance. (…) It’s a question of legitimacy, and efficiency, the United Nations Security Council must be reformed. And it is totally unjustified that Africa doesn’t have a single permanent member of the Security Council.

In the same way, when France holds the presidency of the G8 and G20, she will take initiatives on this.

The second item on our agenda will be that of peace and security in Africa. (…)

I’d like to discuss the institutional crises in Africa with you. You know our position on democracy and human rights: these aren’t [just] Western values, they are universal ones. (…)

Finally, third theme: climate and development. On such an issue it’s essential to go on working together, as we started doing in Copenhagen and prior to Copenhagen. And I intend the commitments the Minister of State and I got in Copenhagen – i.e. the “fast start”, financing for the forest areas, for Africa – to be scrupulously honoured.

(…)

An exciting job awaits us. France wants to be Africa’s ally. Europe and Africa share similar values. Together, we can build the global governance of the 21st century. (…)./.

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