Soro calls for greater Africa-Europe ties

Time of article published May 10, 2007

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Abidjan - Ivory Coast's former rebel chief-turned Prime Minister Guillaume Soro on Thursday called for the fostering of new era ties between Africa and Europe, in line with modern developments.

"It is not the European assistance which is called into question, but the defining of better adapted new forms of partnerships... the evolution of the world and the necessary evolution of Africa," Soro told a forum on Europe-African ties underway in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's oceanside economic capital.

"In its quest for ways to development, Africa was always supported by Europe," he said, but also contracted "an significantly paralysing debt."

The forum which brought together French and African political figures, is organised by an association of Ivorian political scientists and funded by the European Union.

Soro in April took office to head the government of Ivory Coast, a former French colony that had long been a beacon of peace and prosperity in west Africa before sliding into a four year conflict in 2002 when Soro mounted a failed coup against President Laurent Gbagbo.

After several regional and international mediation attempts failed, Gbagbo and Soro finalised their own peace deal on March 4.

Under the agreement, Soro became prime minister in a transitional government, but doubts remain over the two men's commitment to power sharing.

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