Luncheon with African Foreign Ministers
Hosted by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Yohei Kono
19 September 2000
1. Date and Venue
Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2000, 13:15-14:45
Venue: Ballroom, UN Plaza Hotel
Attendants: 50 countries, 28 Foreign Ministers (including Algeria, South Africa, Kenya), 37 Permanent Representatives to the United Nations and others. Of the Foreign Ministers, three were female (South Africa, Madagascar, Guinea).
The luncheon, with 28 Foreign Ministers present, was more well attended than in recent years and the venue almost full to capacity, while the Africa Lunch has been a tradition since the 30th General Assembly in 1975.
3. Opening Address by Foreign Minister Kono
Foreign Minister Kono said that as the Chair of the G8, Japan had been making efforts to listen to the voices of developing countries, including African countries (see reference).
With respect to development in Africa, he stressed the importance of the concepts introduced in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). He also stated that Japan would examine the possibility of hosting a ministerial conference during FY2001 with a view to convening TICAD III.
Foreign Minister Kono underlined the importance of prompt and effective implementation of the debt relief measures agreed to at the Cologne G8 Summit. He hoped that those indebted countries where relief measures are not being implemented due to conflict or other factors would exert efforts to establish conditions conducive to debt relief as early as possible, and expressed that the G8 would also support such efforts.
He also said that Japan would continue to support Africa's own efforts toward conflict prevention and resolution.
Foreign Minister Kono emphasized the urgent need for Security Council reform for the purpose also of better reflecting the views of developing countries.
4. Address by Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Bonaya Godana of Kenya on behalf of African Foreign Ministers
Foreign Minister Godana expressed appreciation for Japan's efforts toward African development. He stated that African countries would cooperate with Japan toward ensuring the success of the ministerial meeting scheduled for 2001.
He said that although the Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Troika and the Chair of the G77 had visited Japan on the occasion of the G8 Summit and held an exchange of views with the G8 on a variety of issues, there was a need to move toward specific action in the future.
While fully recognizing the necessity of South-South cooperation, Foreign Minister Godana stressed the importance of continued promotion of North-South cooperation.
Stating that peace was a precondition of development, he expressed expectation for Japan's support in the area of conflict prevention and resolution in Africa.
Foreign Minister Godana also underscored the need for reforms to enable the UN Security Council to respond more appropriately to its current state.
5. Later, Foreign Minister Kono walked around all the luncheon tables, warmly exchanging views with all the attendants. Amongst other things, African ministers expressed appreciation for the hosting of the luncheon and their expectations toward TICAD III. The meeting, which gathered together over half of all Foreign Ministers on the African continent, produced an atmosphere of keen expectation toward Japan, which continues to listen intently to the voices of developing countries.
Outlined below is a list of Japan's diplomatic efforts during the course of this year to listen to the voices of developing countries, including in Africa.
- Attendance by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Foreign Minister Kono at a reception marking the 37th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), 25 May, Tokyo
- Receiving of African Ambassadors by Foreign Minister Kono
- Message from Prime Minister Mori to the OAU Summit, 10-12 July, Togo
- Breakfast meeting with Foreign Ministers of the NAM Troika (South Africa, Bangladesh and Colombia) and the Chair of the G77 (Nigeria), 13 July, Miyazaki, Japan
- Dialogue between the G8 and developing countries (Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand), 20 July, Tokyo
- Meeting at the Millennium Summit between Prime Minister Mori and the Presidents of Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa, 7 September, New York
- Reception at the Millennium Summit inviting small island nations and landlocked countries, 7 September, New York
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