Franco-African summit ends on high note

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pretoria - The 25th Africa- France summit held in Nice was an opportunity for South Africa to strengthen relations based on shared interest and mutual trust, says the Presidency.

The summit which attracted over 40 Heads of State, including President Jacob Zuma, looked at the African continent's role in global governance, strengthening peace and security, climate and development.

Speaking at the close of the summit on Tuesday, Zuma said he was concerned about the unstable situation in parts of the continent, adding that regional conflict is the "one single issue that prevents Africa from development."

He said the discussions had focused on a number of important issues relating to peace and security, development, trade and investment.

On peace and security in Africa, President Zuma emphasised the urgent task facing the African continent and the continent's strategic partners such as France in resolving conflicts in Africa.

President Zuma also echoed the call made by the Heads of State and Government who attended the summit on the importance of a multilateral system that is effective and representative of today's world based on a strong and reformed United Nations, in particular, the urgent reform of the United nations Security Council.

Responding to media questions on Madagascar, President Zuma said there was a convergence of views between South Africa and France on the need to support the work of SADC in assisting the parties to resolve the political impasse in Madagascar.

"We are confident that we will resolve the Madagascar issue faster due to the work that is being carried out by SADC, with the assistance of France and other keys stakeholders such as the African Union and the United Nations," said Zuma.

At the end of the summit, France committed to set up a $120 million fund to help Africa's farming and food distribution sectors.

Media reports indicate that the fund will start at $120 million and could increase to as much as $300 million.

Leaders also agreed to deal with their common challenges with coordination and solidarity.

While in the country, Zuma also held bilateral discussions with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the sidelines of the summit.

President Zuma departed Nice, France on Tuesday evening to India on a state visit.

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