Burkina Faso hosts fourth Francophonie summit on African soil

Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso (PANA) -- Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, hosts the 10th Francophonie summit Friday and Saturday, which will be a turning point since the French President Francois Mitterrand convened the first gathering of its kind in February 1986.
Due to the success of that first summit, which brought together 42 leaders, including 16 presidents and 10 heads of governments in Versailles, France, another one was convened in early September 1987.
During the 1987 summit in Quebec, Canada, which laid down the principle that such summits would take place every other year, Ottawa cancelled the public debts of seven sub-Saharan Francophone African countries.
Senegal, the country of Léopold Sédar Senghor, one of the pioneers of the movement, and of Abdou Diouf, the incumbent secretary of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), hosted the third summit in Dakar in May 1989.
The then French President, Mitterrand seized the occasion to cancel the the public debts of 35 African countries.
At that conference, the heads of state and government present also decided to adopt a legal and judicial cooperation framework.
France, the home of origin, hosted the fourth francophone summit from 19 to 21 November 1991, which was attended by 43 heads of state and government.
The summit leaders pledged "to advance the democratisation process and consolidate democratic institutions" by developing programmes in that direction within their respective countries.
The Francophonie's determination to consolidate democracy in Africa and encourage North-South and South-South cooperation was reaffirmed during the next summit, held at Grand Bay, Mauritius in October 1993.
The defence of cultural diversity is one of the Francophone community's stance within the General Arrangement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
At the 6th summit held in Cotonou, Benin in December 1995, the Francophone community affirmed its political commitment on the international scene in the post-cold war period.
It was during that summit, the third of its kind to be held on African soil, that the Francophonie decided to review its charter so as to create the position of Secretary General.
The Francophonie demonstrated its universal nature by holding its seventh summit in Hanoi, Vietnam from 14 to 16 November 1997.
It was on that occasion that the heads of state and government decide to institutionalise the Francophonie's political dimension by appointing its political spokesman.
The summit in Hanoi elected Boutros Boutros-Ghaliof Egypt as the first secretary General of Francophonie for a four-year term of office.
The next Francophonie summit was held in North America, in the Canadian city of Moncton, New Brunswick province from 3 to 5 September 1999.
The OIF political dimension was reasserted and amplified when its Secretary General was given an explicit mandate to extend its role to peacekeeping, while maintaining the quest for cultural diversity.
To show that Arabic and English were not the only languages spoken in the Middle East, Beirut, the once war-torn capital of Lebanon hosted the summit of common users of Molière's language from 20 to 22 October 2002.
It was in Beirut that the Francophoine affirmed the importance of dialogue between cultures as an instrument for peace, democracy and human rights.
The summit appointed Abdou Diouf, Senegal's president from 1981 and 2000 to be the new OIF secretary general.
The major focus of the 10th Francophonie summit in Ouagadougou will ne to demonstrate that it is "a space of solidarity for sustainable development".

24 november 2004 10:35:00




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