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  Home > FOCAC Archives > The 2nd Ministerial Conference > Follow-up Actions
Speech by Lü Guozeng, Assistant Foreign Minister and Chairman of the China Follow-up Committee of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum at the Closing Dinner of the China-Africa Seminar on Human Rights
2004/10/20

 

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

      The China-Africa Human Rights Seminar (Seminar) sponsored by the China Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Forum) is drawing to an end today.  The Seminar is an important follow-up by the Forum to the Addis Ababa Action Plan and a concrete step taken by China and Africa to enhance cooperation in international affairs.

 

      In the past three days, delegates from foreign ministries of 27 African countries, officials from the Chinese Government, experts and scholars had in-depth discussions and reached broad consensus on three major topics: relationship between human rights and sovereignty, protection of human rights in judicial practices, and international human rights cooperation.  The Seminar has increased mutual understanding between the two sides in international affairs in general and in the field of human rights in particular, and promoted dialogue, exchanges and cooperation on human rights, therefore proven to be a great success.

 

      On behalf of the China Follow-up Committee of the Forum and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, I wish to express warm congratulations on the success of the Seminar and sincere thanks to African governments and all the delegates for their participation in and support to the Seminar.

 

      Friendship has brought together the Chinese and African peoples on the opposite shores of vast oceans.  For half a century and more, China and Africa have had equal and productive cooperation to the benefit of both sides in political, economic and trade, scientific and technological, cultural, educational and other fields, and supported and cooperated closely with each other in international affairs.  China has actively provided assistance, to the best of its capacity, to African countries, including the construction of more than 800 infrastructure projects, the dispatch of 15,000 medical personnel to Africa to help cure the sick and wounded, and the training of 15,300 Africans in higher education.  In recent years, China has also sent peacekeeping forces to African countries, thus contributing to peace and stability of Africa.  At the same time, we will never forget African countries' support to China's effort to resume its legitimate seat in the UN in 1971 and your precious support to China thereafter on questions of Taiwan and human rights on the international arena.  An old Chinese saying can best describe the traditional friendship and friendly cooperation between China and Africa: "Long distance never stands in the way of true friends; thousands of miles apart, they maintain close ties as neighbors."

 

      Against the backdrop of the rapid development trend of world multipolarization and the marked acceleration of economic globalization, China and Africa are actively exploring new ways and methods to deepen our friendly cooperation.  The Forum established at the turn of the century has become an important platform for the two sides to enhance collective consultation and dialogue and an effective mechanism for practical cooperation.

 

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

      Two years ago, the African Union succeeded the Organization of African Unity in continuous pursuit of solidarity among the vast numbers of African countries.  Since then, it has taken new steps in maintaining peace and stability, enhancing unity and cooperation and promoting economic and social development in Africa.  NEPAD has further pushed forward African economic integration.  In international affairs, African countries have coordinated positions and made joint efforts in safeguarding their legitimate rights and interests, thus playing an increasingly important role.  We heartily rejoice at the new achievements Africa has made on its march forward and are confident that the great African Renaissance will become a reality.

 

      China and African countries, as peace-loving and development-aspiring members of the developing world, are an important force for the establishment of a new and more rational international political and economic order.  At the moment, we are facing greater opportunities for development as well as unprecedented challenges.  Closer China-Africa cooperation for common development conforms to the requirement of the times, the fundamental interests of the Chinese and African peoples, as well as the historical trend of world peace and development.

 

      China is ready to join hands with African countries to strengthen coordination in international affairs, actively implement the follow-up activities to the Forum, add new dimensions to the friendly cooperation between the two sides, and bring about even greater development of China-Africa relations.

 

Now I wish to propose a toast,

to the prosperity of African countries and China and the well-being of our peoples,

to ever stronger friendly cooperation between our two sides, and

to the health of all friends present,

Cheers!

 

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