Speech by the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle to the African Union Foreign Ministers in Kampala

22.07.2010 - Speech

-- Translation of advanve text! --

Ladies and gentlemen, dear collegues,

It is a great honour for me to be the first German foreign minister to speak before the African Union.

Fifty years ago Africa set out on the road towards independence. Today, Africa, Europe's neighbour, is once again on the rise.

Africa is finally assuming its rightful place in the international community. It is an equal partner when it comes to tackling the most urgent global problems such as climate change and food security. It is an attractive economic location with rapid growth, a steadily increasing middle class and innovative entrepreneurs. Increasingly, African solutions are being found for African problems.

This is a remarkable achievement brought about by responsible and far-sighted statesmen and -women, but above all brought about by the African Union. You have achieved a great deal in the few years since the African Union was founded.

You have assumed ownership when standing up for peace and security on the African continent. You have condemned coups d’état. You have shaped the African Union in such a way that it can intervene in severe cases of human rights abuse in a Member State.

the African Union, all of you together, have helped change the world's image of Africa over the past few years. People in Germany, in Europe, all over the world experienced the modern Africa with perfect organisation and an overwhelming hospitality during the World Cup. Africa presented the world with the gift of an unforgettable festival.

The more heinous that right at the end of this festival peacefully celebrating fans became the victim of terrorist attacks in Kampala. These attacks triggered a wave of shock, anger and sadness all over the world. Mr Kutesa, I would like to express my sincere condolences to you and the people of Uganda.

The attackers cannot prevent people living together peacefully in Africa by using war and destruction. These murderous acts merely make the African Union and all of us more determined.

We must work together to stabilize Somalia. Europe stands at Africa's side, working with Africa for a secure and peaceful future of the continent.

Germany makes a substantial contribution towards this objective. This is especially true with respect to Somalia.

In Operation Atalanta we protect shipping off the Somali coast and therefore also trade to and from Africa. In the European Training Mission we are training Somali soldiers here in Uganda. In Ethiopia we are helping to train Somali police officers.

But our support goes beyond Somalia.

Germany is helping to create the police element of the African Standby Force. We are promoting the Border Programme, with which the AU seeks to clarify state borders. In January the AU completed the border demarcation between Burkina Faso and Mali. This is one example of how you can prevent conflicts by looking ahead.

At the African Union’s request we are financing the new headquarters for the AU Department of Peace and Security in Addis Ababa. Construction is due to start in October and shall be completed in 2012. This new modern infrastructure will enable the head of the Department of Peace and Security to work even more efficiently.

The African Union has given the entire continent greater weight. That weight must be reflected to a greater extent in the UN Security Council in the future. We want a permanent membership in the Council for Africa.

Germany is seeking Council membership in 2011 and 2012. During our last term as a non-permanent member in 2003/2004, Germany acted as spokesman for Africa’s concerns. We want to continue this excellent cooperation over the next two years and actively work for global peace and development.

Kofi Annan once aptly described the interdependence between peace and development: There can be no peace without development and no development without peace.

In the European Union, more political cooperation on the one hand and more economic development on the other have produced the longest period of peace in European history.

Following World War II, Germany itself received development aid. Funds from the United States Marshall Plan helped rebuild our shattered country.

Today, Germany is one of the biggest donors of development aid worldwide. We Germans know how important and successful this aid can be.

However, the vital issue is not so much the amount of money flowing from Europe to Africa. The vital issue is rather that the African countries take their future into their own hands. That is where it belongs.

Peace and development come about on the same basis. Where human rights are respected, with rule of law and good governance, people can use their skills to take responsibility for their own lives. Investors, not least from Germany, look for the same preconditions. And Africa needs investors. Increased trade and investment create jobs, growth and prosperity here in Africa as well as in Germany. Both sides benefit. This is the best form of cooperation!

Africa is a continent full of opportunities. Let us use these opportunities together!

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