Australia continues commitment to African partners

Media release

25 January 2013

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Richard Marles has completed a visit to Ethiopia where he attended the 22nd African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa.

The visit highlighted Australia's enduring commitment to the countries of Africa, particularly on development, commercial and peace and security issues.

During the Summit, Mr Marles met with Ministers from nearly 40 African countries, as well as leaders from key regional organisations. Discussions focussed on issues facing the continent including the situations in Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic and piracy.

Mr Marles also thanked African counterparts for their support in securing a non-permanent seat for Australia on the United Nations Security Council.

"We want to hear from Africans directly about how the Council can best contribute to African solutions to African problems, and we want to carry that message to New York," Mr Marles said.

Mr Marles emphasised Australia's commitment to Africa, highlighting our expanding economic ties, development assistance and diplomatic relations.

"More than 1000 Australia Awards scholarships were granted to African students in 2012. We are committed to helping African countries build the human capacity they need to reach their potential."

In addition to attending the African Union Summit, Mr Marles signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ethiopian Government.

"This Memorandum of Understanding will guide the bilateral relationship between Ethiopia and Australia, especially in relation to diplomacy, defence and development."

Australia has been represented at the past ten African Union Summits.

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