|Interview: Tripartite Africa-China-U.S. talks to discuss maritime security|
LOME, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The tripartite talks bringing together Africa, China and the U.S., which in 2014 were only meant to discuss peace issues, will this year focus on maritime security and the blue economy.
Revelations in this regard were made on Tuesday by the Director for Political Affairs in Togo's Foreign Ministry, Dr. Bakayota Koffi Kpaye, during an interview with Xinhua.
The initiative by the Carter Center will be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Lome, in the run up to an extraordinary summit of the African Union (AU) on maritime security and development in Africa in October.
"There have been two editions of the tripartite talks but it is the first time they are taking place in Africa and it is good Togo was chosen to host them," Kpaye said.
He recalled that at the start, the tripartite talks initiated by the Carter Center, named after ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter, were meant to end the war in South Sudan.
"They were meant to see how the Center could contribute through informal channels to the peace process in the country," he said, adding that the talks equally included "ways to fight epidemics such as Ebola which was spreading in parts of the African continent."
Kpaye said the Lome meeting will discuss maritime security and the blue economy in the Gulf of Guinea as well as peace issues in the Sahel region.
He noted that the themes of the talks will be discussed with a view of identifying areas of collaboration between Africa and China as well as the U.S.
The Lome talks were organized in collaboration with the Togolese government and the UN Bureau for West Africa and the Sahel.
"Today, the major concerns for our sub-region and the entire continent are issues of peace and security. When we speak of peace and security, we refer to issues of terrorism, organized crime and all forms of trafficking. In this regard, Togo is in the process of preparing an ordinary session for AU presidents on maritime security and safety as well as development," he said.
Speaking of the blue economy, Kpaye noted that "our seas and oceans contain enormous resources. The whole of Africa is surrounded by oceans but Africa has not managed to reap maximum benefits from resources within its seas and oceans, and instead oceans have become sources of insecurity and channels of trafficking."
It is in this regard, he said, that Togo was planing to bring all African leaders and policy makers to reflect on how to improve security in our seas and oceans, and how the continent could reap maximum benefits from the seas and oceans for its development.
Although the director for political affairs said Africa had began fighting against ills that had negatively impacted its development, especially insecurity, he acknowledged that there was persistent insecurity and the continent had not found lasting solutions to conflicts, banditry and all forms of trafficking.
He expressed confidence that the Lome tripartite talks will help to come up with ideal solutions to the challenges facing Africa. Enditem