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Sinn Féin MEPs welcome South African President to European Parliament

17 November, 2004

Sinn Féin MEPs Bairbre de Brún (6 counties) and Mary Lou McDonald (Dublin) have today extended a warm welcome to the South African President Thabo Mbeki to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. In a joint statement they paid tribute to "the positive role South Africa has played in assisting in the resolution of conflicts".

Speaking from Strasbourg the Sinn Féin MEPs said:

"Sinn Féin extends a warm welcome to the South African President, Thabo Mbeki to the European Parliament. We recognise the importance of strong links between the African continent and the European Union and call for them to be built upon in the coming years.

"Mr Mbeki made reference in his speech to the struggle to eradicate poverty within Africa. Global poverty remains one of the greatest challenges facing us today. Within the EU, more than 68 million people continue to live in poverty. We pledge our support to policies and initiatives designed to combat global poverty, particularly in relation to the African continent.

"Working through the African Union, South Africa has also played an important role as an honest broker in conflict situations throughout Africa. We also recognise and commend the positive contribution South Africa has played and continues to play in relation to the Irish peace process." ENDS

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