Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Equatorial Guinea Statement on UNESCO Controversy

The Government of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) released the following statement today regarding recent statements made in the international media and community regarding the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences:

"The Government of Equatorial Guinea deeply regrets the controversy currently taking place in the international community regarding the UNESCO Prize -- particularly among friendly nations such as France, which have even recently praised us for our progress. There exists a great deal of misperception about Equatorial Guinea, an issue that is partly our fault since we have not always responded to inaccuracies that have appeared in the international press or have been perpetuated by our critics. This will now change.

"Equatorial Guinea is working both to improve itself and contribute to the international community -- thanks to the blessing of our recently discovered natural resources. The UNESCO Prize is a part of this effort. We are also now taking steps to be more transparent and proactive in communicating the progress we are making as we strive to transform from the poor country that we were into an emergent, sustainable economy.

"Although the UNESCO controversy has highlighted the fact that Equatorial Guinea faces many challenges, which is true, the situation is being viewed through an outdated understanding of what our Government is and what Equatorial Guinea is like. The real challenges that exist for us are in improving the health, education, culture and professional skills of our citizens -- so that in the future we as a nation can successfully achieve our goals. We now ask that the international community and media give us a second look and chance to explain what is occurring within our nation. We further ask that the UNESCO Prize be looked at for what positive contributions it will be making to benefit all of humanity."