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Ties Benefit African People: Ministers
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The strategic partnership between China and Africa promotes human rights and benefits the world, a senior official from the continent said yesterday, countering "negative and tainted" reports in some quarters.


He said it was "absolutely not true" to label African leaders attending the summit as "dictators seeking a new homeland in China" and "shunning their responsibilities on human rights" as was reported in some Western media.


Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin told a press conference: "Should we be painted in this dimension? Absolutely not."


The foreign ministers of China, Ethiopia and Egypt jointly addressed the news conference at the end of the two-day Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.


Egypt will succeed Ethiopia as the co-chair of the next forum in 2009.


"The meaning (of the partnership) is promoting Africa's development, scoring success in fighting poverty, overcoming the predicament the Africa countries face today, and also enhancing Chinese development," he said, adding that the partnership also serves to promote human values including human rights.


"Is not the right to development a human rights issue? It is a pillar of the human rights issue.


"Is not the right to education a human rights issue? Indeed, it is a pillar of the human rights issue," he said.


In improving the partnership, "we will tackle problems and challenges including governance of the economy, governance of politics, and governance of relations with other partners, including North-South dialogue."


"It is also a predicable partnership, where one can count on another with no political strings or serving only the interests of one of the parties."


The foreign minister appealed to the media to convey that the objective of the forum is not only a win-win partnership for China and African countries, but also for the global family.


The peaceful development of China and Africa will surely benefit the world, Seyoum said.


Commenting on the negative Western media reports, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said he was certain the writers did not capture the essence of the principles of peaceful coexistence or the UN Charter.


"Therefore, they find it difficult to understand the spirit and importance of China-Africa cooperation," he said.


Despite being a developing country and having to tackle its own challenges, China has been providing assistance to "our brothers and sisters in Africa to the best of our ability," he said.


The minister also said China respects the choices of African countries and will not impose its mode of development.


If some African countries build economic zones, China will discuss with the countries and collaborate with them based on the principle of mutual benefit.


"We are committed to improving the lives of people in Africa and China. Our cooperation is not designed against, nor does it exclude, any third country," he said.


He reiterated that China would not pursue monopoly of oil resources in Africa.


China itself generates more than 90 per cent of its energy needs. Its imports of crude oil, including those from


Africa, account for only 6 per cent of the total oil trade volume in the world, Li said.


Energy cooperation, as part of Sino-African cooperation, is open and transparent to the outside world; and abides by international rules, he said.


Therefore, the criticism of China's energy policy in Africa is unreasonable, he said.


The minister expressed the hope that the five African nations that have no diplomatic relations with China will "take the right stand" and support the one-China policy.


The five countries are Burkina Faso, Swaziland, Malawi, Gambia and Sao Tome and Principe.


They were invited to send observers to the Beijing summit but none of them did.


"The Chinese Government and people harbor friendly feelings to people in those five countries," he said. "We never did them any harm. On the contrary, it was their governments that hurt the Chinese people's feelings."


By maintaining so-called "diplomatic ties" with the Chinese island of Taiwan, these countries are isolating themselves from the overwhelming majority of the international community, he said.


Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit said China's proposals on China-Africa ties are important to the development of Africa, especially in helping the continent secure peace and security.


(China Daily November 6, 2006)


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