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Forex – Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu Supports Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang`s Five-Point Program of Transparency, Political,

Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu Supports Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang`s Five-Point Program of Transparency, Political, Legal, and Economic Reform, Announced at Global Forum in Cape Town, South Africa On June 28, 201

Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:51am EDT

President Obiang Responds Reaffirming Commitment to Reform Program Announced in
Cape Town, Including Return of International Red Cross to Assist on Human
Rights, U.S. Aid to Assist on Social Development Fund, and African Union Panel
To Advise on Independent Judiciary
WASHINGTON--(Business Wire)--
The Washington D.C. Embassy of the government of Equatorial Guinea today
released a previously unpublished letter from Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond
M. Tutu, written in August 2010 to President Obaing Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial
Guinea, in which Archbishop Tutu wrote that he was "encouraged an impressed"
with President Obiang`s June 28, speech committing to broad governmental reforms
before the Global Forum in Cape Town, South America. 

In that speech, before the world`s media, and civic and business leaders,
President Obiang publicly committed that his nation would continue and expand
upon a detailed "five-point program of transparency and political, legal and
economic reform." 

"I was encouraged and impressed by your speech and your willingness to make
these public commitments in front of the world`s media and to respond - before,
during, and after our speech - to the media`s questions," Archbishop Tutu wrote.

President Obiang responded on September 15, 2010, in a personal letter to
Archbishop Tutu, committing to:

* Completing negotiations for the return of the International Committee of the
Red Cross, who would be involved in "evaluating and monitoring human rights and
prison conditions in my country;" 
* Inviting the assistance of the U.S. State Department, through the Ambassador
to Equatorial Guinea, to provide "independent professional administration for
EG`s Social Development Fund for the benefit of the Equatorial Guinea people;"
and 
* Asking the African Union to establish a "Special Advisory Committee" to advise
Equatorial Guinea on judicial reform and to work with the Minister of Justice
"to make recommendations to strengthen an independent judiciary in our
country."

In his August letter to President Obiang, Archbishop Tutu acknowledged that the
President would face difficulties in "undertak[ing] a plan of this magnitude
when you are still in the process of creating a basic infrastructure for your
country." 

He added that he hoped President Obiang could move forward "as soon as possible"
on fulfilling the commitments he made publicly in his June 28 Cape Town speech,
including "protecting human rights and democratic institutions, such as a free
an independent press, strong and viable opposition parties, and an independent
judiciary," including the rights to due process and the right to appeal
verdicts. 

The Archbishop also expressed his support for President Obiang`s "continued
commitment to the Social Development fund, to use your energy revenues for the
people and children and education and housing. I noted in your speech you
itemized over $1 billion of such spending in the last year alone." 

Archbishop Tutu promised to "publicly endorse specific developments in your
transparency and reform program if and when implemented" and to "encourage the
leading international human rights, democracy and transparency NGOs to accept
your invitation in your Cape Town speech to visit your country, see the
situation on the ground, and to study what is happening there." 

He added: "I hope and trust that human rights organizations will extend a hand
to help you in the process of reform." 

In President Obiang`s letter to Archbishop Tutu, Mr. Obiang acknowledged that
"the simple endowment of infrastructure is not sufficient to reach the success
we desire. It is therefore essential to have qualified and experienced people
who are capable of transforming into reality the noble objectives contained in
my Cape Town speech. We also need to be able to count on the support of
individuals and prestigious international institutions that believe in our
determination to develop a modern nation." 

Archbishop Tutu, who won a Nobel Peace prize in 1984 for his anti-apartheid
leadership in South Africa as well as his work for the oppressed and for human
rights, concluded: "I hope I may be able to visit your country sometime in the
future. God bless you." 

Archbishop Tutu was also awarded the Albert Schweitzer Price for Humanitarianism
in 1986, the Gandhi Peace Price in 2005, and the President Medal of Freedom in
2009. 

Copies of Archbishop Tutu`s letter and President Obiang`s response are attached
to this release. 

This material is distributed by Lanny J. Davis & Associates, LLC on behalf of
the Government of Equatorial Guinea.Additional information is available at the
U.S. Department of Justice.

 

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