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EU Troika meeting with Nigeria on topical issues of security, energy, climate change, migration and human rights

Conflict management and prevention, combating the illicit stockpiling of and trade in small arms and light weapons, climate change, energy security, the fight against terrorism, migration and human rights were the main themes of today's meeting between the EU Troika of Foreign Ministers and Nigeria at Brdo pri Kranju in Slovenia. The session was chaired by the President of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitrij Rupel, while the Nigerian delegation was headed by the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Ojo Maduekwe.

On conflict prevention and management, Council President Dimitrij Rupel remarked that the EU was devoting special attention to Africa, the crucial concepts the EU shares with its partners being monitoring, counselling and training. In recent years the EU has achieved significant progress in a number of operations in Congo, Guinea Bissau and Sudan, and lately also in Chad and the Central African Republic. The EU hopes to continue this work and enable the African Union to establish sufficient capacities and know-how for independent conflict management.

Referring to the fight against the illicit stockpiling of small arms and light weapons, Dr Rupel stressed that the EU has been drawing attention to this issue for a number of years. Back in 2005, it adopted a document on a strategy against the stockpiling of and trade in such weapons, which also established that Africa was the continent that suffered most from internal conflicts resulting from the uncontrolled influx of small arms and light weapons. The EU supports the efforts of the UN in this respect. Dr Rupel expressed satisfaction on learning that Nigeria had attended the seminar organised in Lome in April. He went on to encourage Nigeria and other African States to participate in the discussions conducted on this subject by the UN.

The GAERC Council President, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, also devoted particular attention to climate change. Stressing that the issue warranted particular attention, he added that these issues could be addressed only at the global level and pointed out that European leaders had agreed to advocate the start of negotiations on a global and comprehensive agreement for the post-2012 period. The EU reiterates that a leading role should be played by the developed countries since they are the ones that bear the greatest responsibility for emissions. The consequences, however, are felt all over the world, and Nigeria could be particularly affected by rising sea levels, drought and increasing desertification.

Energy security is also an important global challenge. Dr Rupel stressed efforts for the introduction of new technologies which would help reduce emissions. “The wasting of resources at the production stage should be prevented,” said the Slovenian Foreign Minister and welcomed Nigeria's endeavours to reduce gas flaring. He highlighted the fact that European companies were willing to participate, by making considerable investments, in achieving these goals. Energy security is also an incentive for developing renewable energy sources and Dr Rupel had every confidence that Nigeria had great potential in this respect.

Underlining the European Union's condemnation of terrorism, the GAERC Council President reaffirmed the EU's full support for the United Nations in the fight against terrorism. The EU is involved in this fight at every level. All the actions taken must, however, be compliant with international law, noted Dr Rupel. He also noted that the EU and Nigeria were both multifaith societies and pointed out that intercultural dialogue was an important priority of Slovenia's EU Council Presidency.

Dialogue with Nigeria in the field of migration is very important, he maintained, it being at one and the same time a country of origin, a transit country, and a destination for migrants. The European Union supports dialogue with African countries on this issue and Dr Rupel welcomed Nigeria's cooperation, which had enabled the deployment of an EU mission in this African country. He also welcomed Nigeria's decision to be involved in the activities agreed at last year's EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon. The European Union certainly wishes to continue dialogue with this country.

On the issue of human rights, the EU supports the activities of the UN Human Rights Council, of which Nigeria is a member, stressed Dr Rupel, encouraging his counterpart to be fully engaged in the Council, as all countries share the responsibility for its effectiveness. Dr Rupel also welcomed Nigeria's decision to accept special rapporteurs on human rights. He went on to express his belief that cooperation between countries from different regional groups was essential and that the EU was looking forward to cooperating with Nigeria.

At the end of the meeting a joint message was adopted, summarising all the salient points of the discussion.


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Date: 23.05.2008