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Remarks by Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at Reception by African Diplomatic Envoys in China Celebrating the 41st Anniversary of Africa Day

2004/05/25

Your Excellency Ambassador Eleih-Elle Etian, Head of the Group of AfricanDiplomatic Missions in China,

Your Excellency Ambassador António Inácio of Mozambique,

Excellencies and Friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my distinct pleasure to join so many friends, old and new, here in celebration of the "Africa Day", a great festival that symbolizes African solidarity and cooperation. I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, our warmest congratulations to the African Union, to the governments and people of various African countries, and to you, the distinguished African diplomatic representatives.

The Organization of African Unity (OAU), founded on 25 May 1963, made an indelible contribution to national independence and political liberation in Africa, enhanced African solidarity and cooperation, and the maintenance of peace and stability on the continent.

Carrying forward the mandate of the OAU, two years ago the African Union (AU) rose to the challenges of globalization amid a complex and volatile international landscape and led the African peoples onto a new historic march towards African rejuvenation.

In your journey from OAU to AU, we see the strong will of the African countries and peoples for independence, self-strengthening, prosperity and progress; we see the footprints of the African people in their quest for closer solidarity and unity and gradual political and economic integration; we also see a bright future of African peace and development.

Distinguished Diplomatic Envoys and Friends,

Forty years ago, the late Premier Zhou Enlai paid his first visit to Africa, a trip that was hailed as a journey of seeking friendship, peace and knowledge. That visit laid a solid foundation for China-Africa relations.

Over the last half a century, our two sides respected each other and treated each other as equals politically; engaged in result-oriented cooperation on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit economically; and supported each other in close cooperation in international affairs. We have established a new type of partnership featuring long-term stability, equality and mutual benefit.

Coming into the 21st century, China-Africa cooperation has enjoyed wider scope, greater diversity in forms and more fruitful results.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation jointly launched in 2000 has provided the two sides with a new platform for closer dialogue, deeper friendship and enhanced cooperation.

The Chinese Government is earnestly implementing the follow-up actions towards the goals set forth in the Addis Ababa Action Plan. We are willing to work with the African countries to move forward the China-Africa friendship and cooperation.

In conclusion, I would like to wish Africa prosperity and its people well being.

May China-Africa friendship and cooperation grow constantly stronger.

Thank you!
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