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State Luncheon - Democratic Republic of the Congo

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State Luncheon hosted by His Excellency Joseph Kabila,
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kinshasa, DRC, Monday, April 19, 2010

Thank you very much for the warm welcome you have given us and for hosting this dinner in honour of Canada’s first State visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is an opportunity to salute the determination with which Congolese women and men are trying to put behind them a tormented history and many years of conflict.

In your message to the country at the beginning of 2010, you spoke about the end of uncertainty and about a political willingness to fight corruption, extortion, misappropriation of public and social funds, rape and other human rights violations.

You said that you had also taken courageous steps to establish good governance and to put an end to impunity.

Canada applauds this with great enthusiasm.

Of course, we share many values and ties.

Values we defend as members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie—not only the propagation of the French language and culture, but cultural diversity, peace, democratic governance and the consolidation of a state of law.

It is in the name of these values and ties that Canada supports the efforts being made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to improve political governance and maintain the electoral process in light of the upcoming presidential elections.

Not to mention, Excellency, the fact that both our countries share the good fortune of having abundant natural resources.

I therefore believe we have everything to gain by sharing our experiences and further collaborating in efforts and initiatives to promote greater social responsibility and participation among companies in all sectors.

That is to say, commercial activities must be part of and practised within an ethical framework that is respectful of the people, their culture and the environment.

To that end, Canada is working unceasingly to clean up business practices

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is also rich in women, men and an entire generation of young people who are working hard to restore the respect of human dignity and to rebuild a country that has been so badly hurt by years of conflict.

Recognizing that the people are part of the solution is giving them the means to play a full role in the process of reconstruction, the affirmation of democracy and the defence of rights and freedoms that must continue to guide the Democratic Republic of the Congo as it celebrates this important milestone in its history, the fiftieth anniversary of its independence.

Urgent situations require action, and our greatest hopes for sustainable development and peace depend on citizen action.

President Kabila, you said that when faced with critical challenges, as a nation, the Congolese people have always been known to take spontaneous action.

Let us hope this burst of action sets you down the path of a great journey.

A hopeful and enthusiastic journey that celebrates the diversity that is this country’s—and this continent’s—greatest resource.

A journey towards a promising future for all Congolese people across this big, beautiful country at the heart of an emerging Africa.

My anniversary wish for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in this decisive year is in fact a call for solidarity and dialogue between all the dynamic people of this country so that they move forward together, work together and succeed together.

In the name of our long-standing, sincere, trusting friendship of solidarity, I thank you.