July 17, 2012 – The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), today issued the following statement after the 19th African Union (AU) Summit, which took place from July 9 to 16, 2012, in Addis Ababa:
“I congratulate South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was elected head of the African Union Commission on Sunday. Ms. Dlamini-Zuma is the first woman to hold this office.
“I also commend the work of the heads of state and government of the African Union member countries in promoting democracy and good governance in Africa during the summit. The African Union has made significant progress in this regard, in particular with the ratification by 15 member states in January 2012 of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which sets high standards in these areas for the states party to the charter.
As a long-standing partner of the African Union, Canada reiterates its support for the Union’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
“Canada is monitoring closely, and with some concern, the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where the rise in violence is becoming an increasing threat to stability and security. We commend the heads of state of the member countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, who met on July 15 in Addis Ababa, for their diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the crisis. Canada, which has long supported the Conference, considers this mini-summit a step in the right direction. We welcome the Conference’s member countries’ decisions to activate the mechanisms of mediation and dialogue available to them, to condemn in the strongest terms the acts of violence committed by armed opposition groups in the region and to ensure full implementation of the Conference’s Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. We urge all of these countries, particularly the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, to continue dialogue within the conference.”