24. April 2013

Austria expected to promote African matters internationally, says King

„Austria as a neutral country can play a vital role in promoting matters which Africa, Southern Africa in particular, wants to put on the international agenda“, said King Letsie III. during a press briefing in Vienna.

Lesotho’s constitutional monarch currently pays an official visit to Austria on invitation by Austria’s Federal President, Heinz Fischer. Both Heads of State addressed the press briefing on April 24 jointly after their working meeting in Vienna’s former imperial residence, the Hofburg.

„As the President explained“, King Letsie continued, „Austria was never a coloniser and has always been and continues to be committed to international dialogue and understanding. Austria is therefore well placed to support African matters internationally, at UN fora in particular.“

Both King Letsie and President Fischer highlighted the Memorandum of Understanding just signed by Foreign Minister Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa and the Austrian Secretary of State in the Foreign Ministry, Reinhold Lopatka. „We hope that this agreement will be a huge step forward in implementing the spirit of cooperation which has prevailed between our countries since independence“, stated Letsie III. „This could be in the field of official development cooperation but also through increased cooperation between the private sectors.“

Lesotho will present its economy and business opportunities to Austrian companies tomorrow, April 25, in a Business Forum organised by the Austrian Economic Chamber.

Other matters discussed with the King included, according to President Fischer, the possible negotiation of a bilateral Investment Protection Agreement, Lesotho’s possible joining the International Anti-Corruption Academy, and Austria’s offer to establish an African Union liaison office in Vienna. Lesotho also expressed interest in bilateral cooperation regarding European Union matters. (SADOCC)

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