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EC signs EUR 205 million aid programme with Congo

The Commission signs a EUR 205 million aid programme with the Democratic Republic of Congo

The European Commission has signed a €205 million aid programme with the Democratic Republic of Congo in implementation of the Cotonou Agreement. The programme lays down the main guidelines for aid in 2003 and 2004.

At the signing Mr Poul Nielson, the member of the Commission responsible for development and humanitarian aid, said:

"This programme follows on the heels of the long-awaited inauguration of the interim government. The signing of this document demonstrates the will of the European Commission to support the Democratic Republic of Congo throughout the awkward transition to democracy and lasting peace both within its borders and throughout the Great Lakes region. Since its inauguration the interim government has committed itself firmly to taking the country to the first free elections in its history. In response to this commitment, the European Commission wants to make clear its intention to support the government throughout this arduous task. I sincerely hope that Community aid will make a considerable contribution to democratic change and constitutional reform, in line with the essential principles to which the country subscribed when it signed the Cotonou Agreement."

The main aim of the aid programme is to help the country through its transition to democracy. The programme's key components are health, debt relief, institutional support for democratisation, constitutional reform and the strengthening of the rule of law.

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