(No. 238 - August 28, 2009 - 8:40 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today concluded a successful visit to Mali, where he met with President Amadou Toumani Touré and Foreign Minister Moctar Ouane.
During their meeting, President Touré provided Minister Cannon with an exhaustive briefing on regional security issues. “I am extremely pleased to be able to attest to the President’s deep commitment to confront security issues that affect Mali and the whole region,” said Minister Cannon. “Canada will stand by Mali’s side as it prepares to face the challenges that lie ahead.”
At their meeting, ministers Cannon and Ouane celebrated the vigour and the diversity of relations between Canada and Mali—one of the 20 countries targeted for Canadian cooperation, particularly in peace and security. “Mali continues to demonstrate its determination to reduce poverty, reinforce governance and use aid effectively,” said Minister Cannon. “In terms of democracy and respect for human rights, Mali is a model for Africa.”
Visiting the Alioune Blondin Beye Peacekeeping School, Minister Cannon reiterated Canada’s commitment to Africa’s peacekeeping capacity building. “Canada is proud to have contributed to the School’s construction and development,” said Minister Cannon. “We have also deployed two members of the Canadian Forces to support its activities.” He added that Canada is looking forward to continuing to work with Mali to strengthen African and sub-regional peacekeeping capacity.
Minister Cannon also met with members of the Canadian community as well as representatives of Canadian companies and organizations working in Mali. “Your contribution is essential,” said the Minister. “Through each of you, Malians further discover Canada and its values. I was encouraged to see that Canadian companies are, with their high standards, becoming champions of corporate social responsibility in the region.”
Minister Cannon also visited Tunisia and met with Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi and Foreign Minister Abdelwaheb Abdallah.
Minister Cannon and Prime Minister Ghannouchi discussed the importance of bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as regional issues.
"My meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister were very productive, reflecting our close ties," said Minister Cannon. "We agreed on the importance of reinforcing our economic relations.
"We look forward to the visit of Tunisian officials in September for talks on a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement," stated Minister Cannon following his meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Abdallah. "We are also looking forward to launching negotiations on an air agreement to foster closer cultural and commercial ties with Tunisia."
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