August 2, 2012

Statement of H.E. Mr. Osman Saleh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea at The Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation
Beijing, 20 July, 2012

Your Excellency Chairperson,
Your Excellencies Ministers, Delegates and Ambassadors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my privilege and honor to express my deep appreciation to H.E. Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, for his address at the Opening Session yesterday. I must say that the Address assured us of the continued strong commitment of this great nation to the China-Africa Strategic Partnership. In this regard, President Hu Jintao’s comprehensive five-point program will provide a win-win situation for both partners in that it addresses the major development issues of Africa.

May I also offer my congratulations to the chair and Co-Chair of FOCAC, H.E. Mr. Lu Shaye, Director General of the Department of African Affairs, andH.E. Mr. Mohamed Kamel Amr, Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for the excellent manner in which they have conductedthis 5th Ministerial FOCAC meeting. Furthermore, we would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Government and People of China for the warm hospitality and meticulously organized conference facilities put at our disposal since our arrival in Beijing.

I would also like to congratulate H.E. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and H.E. Commerce Minister Chen Deming for their comprehensive report respectively on the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC and the Plan for China-Africa Cooperation and on the implementation of the economic and trade measures of the Fourth Ministerial Conference.

My delegation is delighted to extend its warm welcome to the Republic of South Sudan for attending this 5th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC as a new member.

We congratulate South Africa for assuming the FOCAC chairmanship. In the same vein, we extend our congratulations to Her Excellency Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for her election as AU Commissioner. My delegation has the full confidence that the two leaders will elevate the China-Africa strategic partnership even to a higher level.

Mr. Chairman:
My Government expresses its satisfaction with FOCAC’s progress since its inception some 12 years ago. China’s policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of nations and non-imposition of preconditions in our relations is, no-doubt, a major contributor to FOCAC’s progress. We believe this policy will be an even more important factor as we enter into “the new type of China-Africa Strategic Partnership.”

My Government continues to look at the China-Africa relations as strategic and long-term partnership designed to maximize the dignity, independence and security of the peoples and governments of China and Africa.
In today’s Africa, peace and security are perhaps the two most important preconditions for rapid and harmonious socio-economic development. In this regard, we appreciate China’s contribution to the promotion of Africa’s regional and continental peace and security.

Our Beijing Declaration rightly makes a reference to the historic injustices endured by Africa. However, these injustices on Africa have not ended. Through targeting, selectivity or otherwise, certain African countries today continue to endure injustice. In this context, my Government strongly supports the statement in the Beijing Declaration that “The two sides support all countries in choosing the path of human rights development in the light of their own national conditions with priority on the right to development and oppose politicizing of human rights issues and setting double standards.”

Eritrea believes that it is high time that both China and Africa make concerted efforts to fundamentally reform the UN System in a way that all member states are fairly and equitably served.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, Eritrea is convinced that the two outcome documents of the 5th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC reflect the strategic objectives of China and Africa and of the concrete steps by which to achieve this strategic interest. We, therefore,fully support the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Plan of Action.

I thank you!

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