Belgium contemplates peace plan for central Africa

Brussels- Belgium (PANA) -- Belgium plans to launch an action for peace and development across Central Africa when it takes chairmanship of the European Union on 1 July, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt hinted Wednesday.
At a press conference on the priorities of the Belgian chairmanship, Verhofstadt said his country, in collaboration with relevant international bodies, would take stock of humanitarian and rehabilitation needs in the crucial sectors of public health and education.
This stocktaking would also concern infrastructure and justice, as well as democratisation in DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.
Belgium, which operates a volunteers programme for the Great Lakes region, intends to further strengthen the involvement of the European Union in the peace process in central Africa, the Prime Minister said.
Also speaking at the conference, Foreign minister Louis Michel said Europe must become operational as far as crisis management is concerned, equipped with the capacity to better use its policy measures - humanitarian, commercial, financial, political, diplomatic - before, during and after a conflict.
Michel said that as a follow-up on the March 2000 Africa- Europe summit in Cairo, a Euro-African ministerial conference would be organised in Brussels on the themes of HIV/AIDS, debt and regional economic integration.

02 may 2001 21:37:00




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