Monday, February 28, 2011

UN Secretary-General Hails 'Statesmanship' in Efforts by Presidents of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to Resolve Boundary Dispute

United Nations Secretary-General praised President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and his counterpart, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, for "statesmanship" in their efforts to resolve a long-standing territorial dispute.

President Obiang met on February 25 with President Bongo at the United Nations (UN) headquarters at the invitation of the Secretary-General. The UN began mediating the dispute in 2004.

The two presidents reaffirmed their commitment to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice with the goal of reaching a settlement as soon as possible.

Secretary-General Ban reported to the Security Council that the attitude of the presidents was "an important demonstration of statesmanship, on both sides."

He declared that the two nations would "have the full support of the United Nations as they work together to find a solution."

The dispute between Equatorial Guinea and its neighbor centers around three islands in Corisco Bay, in an area of petroleum and natural gas deposits. The two countries have a long-standing commitment to resolve the matter amicably and to exploit the area's resources jointly until they reach a settlement.

In a joint communique issued following the meeting of the two leaders and Secretary-General Ban, the two countries agreed to meet again in Geneva on March 29-30 to resolve remaining issues.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

President Obiang To Participate In G20 Summit

The President of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, will participate in the G20 summit that will take place in the Mediterranean city of Cannes in November.

President Obiang, chosen unanimously as rotating President of the African Union (AU), at the 16th Ordinary Assembly celebrated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month, will represent the 53 AU member states. During the summit, President Obiang urged his fellow Africans to take the lead in resolving the conflicts that have ravaged the continent. “Africa must focus on the dialogue for a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflicts that ravage our towns. Africa must assume, more than ever, a leading role not just on the continent but in the international arena.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised President Obiang for his recent election as AU President, saying, “I expect that the increasing desire of the African community to take responsibility for their continent's destiny into their own hands, in cooperation with foreign partners, will contribute to strengthening the organization’s role in regional processes and to a more balanced system of international relations.”

The President of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, José Bono, during a recent visit to Equatorial Guinea, expressed support for President Obiang’s objective to have the AU adopt Spanish as an official language. Equatorial Guinea is the continent’s only Spanish-speaking country.

Other countries whose leaders will join President Obiang at the G20 summit include the

United Arab Emirates, the presiding country of the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf; Ethiopia, which presides over the Orientation Committee of the new Association for Africa’s Development; and Singapore, which will represent the 27 countries of the Global Governance Group (3G).

Friday, February 4, 2011

President Obiang Discusses African Issues, Meets With Members Of Congress

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo held meetings with members of the House and Senate on Thursday, the second day of his unofficial visit to Washington.

After the close of the annual National Prayer Breakfast, President Obiang met with Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.). Rep. Aderholt maintains a keen interest in Africa for several years. He has visited several countries on the continent and met with many African leaders in his efforts to learn about the continent and African culture.

Rep. Aderholt is a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), commonly known as the Helsinki Commission, which is the Congress’s principal human-rights watchdog, and is deeply concerned about issues of human rights and religious liberty.

President Obiang held an afternoon meeting with Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the most ardent promoters of Africa in the United States Congress.

Sen. Inhofe, who is known for saying, “…I have a heart for Africa,” has made more than 100 country visits to Africa and has encouraged his fellow members of Congress to travel to Africa and learn about the continent.

“I’m trying to recruit people to have an interest in Africa,” Inhofe said. “I’m trying to get members of the House and Senate to understand how valuable Africa is.”

In the evening, President Obiang attended a special dinner for African leaders hosted by Sen. Inhofe at the Capitol.

Mr. Obiang’s visit to Washington follows his election as chairman of the African Union (AU) at the organization’s summit, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 30-31. In his acceptance speech, he urged African governments to make greater efforts to resolve the continent’s problems.

“The crisis of the values of the African culture is reducing the unity and solidarity among our people. Africa must focus on the dialogue for a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflicts that ravage our towns,” he said. “Africa must assume, more than ever, a leading role not just on the continent but in the international arena.”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

President Obiang Begins Visit To U.S. with Focus On Faith and Dialogue

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea attended the National Prayer Breakfast this morning in Washington, D.C. on the second day of an unofficial visit to the United States.

Yesterday, he was hosted for lunch in the Capitol by the Chaplain of the United States Senate, Rev. Barry C. Black.

The National Prayer Breakfast has been held annually in Washington since 1953. It is part of a week-long series of meetings, luncheons, and dinners during which members of Congress meet privately with individuals and groups, both American and international, to discuss matters of mutual of interest.

President Obiang will meet with members of Congress and representatives of industry while in Washington.

President Obama addressed the 2011 breakfast, as the President of the United States traditionally does. Every U.S. President since Dwight D. Eisenhower has participated in the event.

Some 3,500 guests attended this year’s breakfast, including members of the U.S. Congress and Cabinet, the diplomatic corps, foreign leaders, and private citizens. Invitees attended from more than 100 countries.

Rev. Black, a retired rear admiral in the United States Navy, is the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate, which named its first chaplain in 1789. He served in the U.S. Navy for more than twenty-seven years, ending his distinguished career as the Chief of Navy Chaplains.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Government of Equatorial Guinea Points to Progress in Responding to Critics

The government of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) has responded sharply to critics of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's election as chairman of the African Union.

In an official statement, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Jeronimo Osa Osa Ecoro denounced critics who urged the African Union to abandon its procedures for selecting the chairman rather than elect Mr. Obiang as "feeling themselves to be above the common and democratic decision of the vast majority of representatives of the African continent."

"President Obiang's election was a democratic consensus by the heads of state of the African Union, at the request of the Central African regional bloc, whose turn it was to preside over the organization, according to [the AU's] strict rotation system," the statement said.

He also responded to criticism of President Obiang's government by pointing out the advances the country has made in economic development, democratization and human rights.

"Equatorial Guinea…has gone from being one of the world's poorest countries to one of the states with the greatest progress in economic and social development on the planet thanks to his leadership," the statement said.

Mr. Osa singled out "the incredible economic development that Equatorial Guinea is currently experiencing." He added, "The same has occurred in the area of human rights, where the enormous steps the country has taken have never been recognized, including the democratization that was the President's own initiative. Equatorial Guinea is currently a country that lives in an environment of stability and peace, with many fewer problems of war, strikes, and delinquency that one can find in many of the countries from which these criticisms arise."

President Obiang was elected chairman of the African Union at the recently concluded African Union Summit, held in Addis Ababa. In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Obiang called for his fellow Africans to "assume, more than ever, a leading role not just on the continent but in the international arena."

"The crisis of the values of the African culture is reducing the unity and solidarity among our people," he said. "Africa must focus on the dialogue for a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflicts that ravage our towns."