EUROPEAN UNION Ambassador to Harare, Mr. Aldo Dell’Ariccia, today dismissed media reports over concerns that Europe is cherry-picking African participants to the upcoming EU – Africa Summit that was scheduled for April 2 – 3 in Brussels.
Citing Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, The Herald newspaper reported for the first time that the EU’s has intentions to bar Eritrea, a full member of the African Union, from attending the summit while inviting Egypt, a country under AU sanction following the removal of a legitimately elected President Mohamed Morsi.
The paper also reports that the bloc have left out Sudan, another full AU member, and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, which is also a part of the continental body but has the majority of its land under Moroccan rule, from attending the summit.
In an interview he gave to this same paper, Ambassador Ariccia clarifies that the upcoming Summit is a meeting between European Union and Africa continent rather than with the African Union so that participation is not guided by the membership of the African Union.
Ambassador Ariccia while continuing said that, “this event is the highest incidence of political dialogue between the European Union and Africa and the intention of the European Union is to make it possible to talk to all who are relevant to the subject of the event, investing in people, prosperity and peace and be able to talk very frankly with them and to have progress in these partnerships between the European Union and this region. That is why Egypt has been invited despite the fact that it has been suspended from the African Union.”
In regards to Eritrea, the ambassador dismissed the Eritrea-phobic media misconception on the matter and re-affirms that the EU has invited Eritrea at the level of the president and already got confirmation that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will attend the event.
Two days ago, Mr. Yemane Gebremeskel, Director of the Office of the President, informed TesfaNews that Eritrea’s invitation to the summit was delivered to the Foreign Office by the EU Ambassador in Eritrea about a month ago and Eritrea already confirmed its participation through its Foreign Minister.
Mr. Yemane also adds that ties between Eritrea and the EU remains warm and have never been healthier.
According to Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia, so far 48 African countries have confirmed their participation of which 41 are represented at the level of the Head of State and Government.
All the 28 states of the European Union will attend the event of which 23 are represented at the level of the Head of State and Government.
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