Visit to Africa and France: Minister of State Valcourt Encourages Reforms in Democratic Republic of Congo

Minister of State Valcourt speaks with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

June 28, 2012 - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), concluded a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Côte d’Ivoire and France from June 20 to 28, 2012. The main objective of the Minister’s visit was to discuss progress on human rights, democracy and governance in the DRC in the lead-up to the 14th Francophonie Summit, to be held in Kinshasa from October 12 to 14, 2012.

In the DRC, the Minister met with Congolese leaders, including Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo. The Minister also met with representatives of opposition groups, with religious leaders and with members of civil society.

“As the Francophonie Summit approaches, we note the DRC’s commitment to strengthening the values advocated by the members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie: good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights,” said Minister Valcourt. “We continue to closely follow the situation in the DRC, as well as the implementation of concrete measures.”

In Côte d’Ivoire, the Minister of State welcomed President Alassane Ouattara’s commitment to reconstruction, reconciliation and strengthening the rule of law. He also underlined the crucial role President Ouattara plays as head of the Economic Community of West African States, particularly in the search for a solution to the crises in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, which are currently suspended from the International Organisation of La Francophonie.

In addition to marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Côte d’Ivoire, Minister Valcourt noted the dynamic and constantly growing economic ties between the two countries. He expressed hopes for the rapid conclusion of the negotiations toward a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement.

In Paris, Minister Valcourt met with Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, as well as with Yanima Benguigui, Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad and Francophony, to discuss, among other issues, the upcoming Francophonie Summit.

“Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are fundamental values held by both Canada and France,” said Minister Valcourt.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Andréa Richer
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)
613-790-3637

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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