H.E. Mr. Kofi Esaw, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration
27 September 2008
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KOFI ESAW, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Togo, said that the high-level debates and discussions throughout the past week on Africa’s development and the Millennium Development Goals had proven the need for immediate and effective international aid to help eradicate global poverty and help Africa achieve sustainable development. The failure of the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round had not helped the current state of affairs and, without a positive resolution to those talks, the situation would likely continue to deteriorate.
If the developing world was to achieve its development objectives, the international community –- specifically the most developed countries –- must finally make good on its Millennium commitments, he continued. At the same time, however, new challenges had been added to the long list of those already facing the international community. The rising cost of oil combined with the increase in food prices would likely have disastrous consequences if aid was not mobilized immediately to bolster the agricultural sectors of many developing countries, particularly in terms of agricultural infrastructure and irrigation.
For many years, Togo had suffered from an extended political and economic crisis, he said. However, the recent implementation of pragmatic political policies based on national reconciliation, poverty reduction, democracy and the rule of law had helped his country achieve some important successes. Among the most significant were the holding of peaceful and transparent legislative elections in October 2007; reform of the judicial system; creation of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission to help victims of crimes committed during the political crisis; and the signing of the African Peer Review Mechanism in an effort to fight corruption and improve good governance in Togo.
However, such achievements had been seriously threatened by recent heavy rains and flooding that had destroyed villages and valuable infrastructure, he explained. Only with the help of the international community had Togo been able to respond and rebuild some of that lost infrastructure. For decades, Togo had worked towards building friendship and cooperation at both regional and international levels.
International conflicts -- such as those in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Darfur -- could also benefit from similar efforts towards cooperation and efforts should be made to find peaceful resolutions built on dialogue and discussion, he said. The adoption of a legally-binding instrument to prevent the illicit trade in small arms would also help to reduce conflicts and create global peace and security. Each country had a responsibility towards building that global peace since only then would the international community be able to focus on its other challenges, such as poverty, illiteracy and disease.