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Chairperson received in London by the Foreign Secretary, Mr. William Hague and other UK Government Officials

Chairperson received in London by the Foreign Secretary, Mr. William Hague and other UK Government Officials

Addis Ababa, 04 April 2011 — The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Jean Ping, yesterday, 4 April 2011, in London, met with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), Mr. William Hague, as well as with the Secretary of State for International Development, Mr. Andrew Mitchell, the Minister for Africa, Mr. Henry Bellingham and the UK Special Envoy for Sudan, Mr. Michael Ryder.

The meeting with the Foreign Secretary offered the Chairperson an opportunity to discuss the situations in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire.

Speaking after his meeting with Mr. Hague, Chairperson Ping described the United Kingdom as a key AU Partner and thanked the Foreign Secretary for his warm welcome. He described his discussions with the Foreign Secretary as “a very fruitful exchange.”

On his part, Mr. Hague said he was delighted to meet with the Chairperson, adding that their “wide ranging discussions highlighted the close working relationship between the United Kingdom and the African Union.”

Regarding the situation in Libya, the Chairperson and the Foreign Secretary agreed on the pressing need for an end to the violence, the need to protect civilians and for a solution that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people.

They also discussed the outcomes of last week’s London Conference on Libya and plans to take these forward, including how both parties can continue to work closely together on these matters.

In that respect, the Chairperson briefed the Foreign Secretary on the efforts of the AU, through its High-Level Ad-Hoc Committee on Libya, and stressed the African Union’s determination to do everything in its power to facilitate an early and peaceful resolution of the crisis, based on its Roadmap, as articulated by the Peace and Security Council.

Both parties further expressed deep concern at the situation in Cote d’Ivoire and at the resulting worsening humanitarian crisis. They agreed that all sides need to show restraint and protect civilians, and expressed the hope to see a swift resolution of the conflict and for President Ouattara to take up the office to which he has been democratically elected.

During his meeting with Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Bellingham, the Chairperson and his hosts discussed the situations in Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan and Somalia, as well as other issues of common interest.

Both parties also reviewed ways and means of enhancing the partnership between the African Union and the United Kingdom, and the Chairperson expressed his appreciation to the UK for its support to the AU, particularly in the area of peace and security.

The meetings were attended, among others, by the UK Permanent Observer to the African Union, Ambassador Norman Ling.

The Chairperson is in London for a two-day official visit and will travel to Brussels, where he is scheduled to meet with the European Union (EU) leadership, including the President of the EU Council, Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, as well as the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

He will also travel to Rome for consultations with the Italian Foreign Minister, Mr. Franco Frattini, on the situation in Libya and other issues of mutual interest.

British High Commission, Freetown

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