60th Elysée Treaty Anniversary: Germany, France Call for Peace and Friendship Among Countries
*Promise continued support for ongoing Nigeria’s electoral process
Michael Olugbode in Abuja
As Germany and France celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, the Ambassadors of both countries to Nigeria have asked Nigeria and the rest of the world to embrace friendship and alliance with neighbouring countries.
The ambassadors, Annett Günther (Germany) and Emmanuelle Blatmann (France) in a jointly issued article to mark the treaty signed on January 22, 1963, equally solicited an end to hostility between Ukraine and Russia, both neighbours currently engaged in war.
The ambassadors said: “Former enemies becoming best friends? It is possible! On January 22, 1963, France and Germany signed the Elysée-Treaty, formally ending a hostility that had lasted for centuries. This happened before the background of World War II, in which Nazi Germany invaded France and in which it unleashed a horrific war on Europe and the World, killing millions of people and murdering more than 6 million Jews. That these two nations, that had previously perceived each other as “hereditary enemies”, could overcome their hostility to become each other’s strongest allies and indeed, best friends, is a great fortune and deeply humbling.”
The two ambassadors added that: “On January 22, 2023, we celebrate 60 years of sealing an unbreakable friendship,” noting that: “The Franco-German relationship has become a symbol of reconciliation. Today, we are each other’s closest partners. Our cooperation takes place on countless levels: Governments work tightly together, universities and schools exchange students, companies trade and make our countries each other’s main trading partners, people pass freely across open borders. These cooperation and exchanges have tied our nations inseparably together.
“Together, we also strive to strengthen the European Union, which is the foundation of our economic success and political influence. Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine has demonstrated all too clearly how important it is to stand together in solidarity and friendship. Together with our European partners, we support Ukraine financially, militarily and provide as much humanitarian aid as possible for the people hit hard by the war. Jointly upholding the rule of law and democratic principles has become ever more important in the face of this lawless and ruthless act of aggression.”
The ambassadors added: “Here in Nigeria, France and Germany work together in the same spirit, defending shared values and universal principles, and pursuing joint actions aiming at the reduction of inequalities through humanitarian and development aid, the protection of human rights and cultural heritage, and the promotion of peace and democracy.”
Günther and Blatmann explained that to
achieve these goals, “our two countries have established strong partnerships with our Nigerian friends and mobilise, every year, resources to the tune of several hundred million Euros, bilaterally or through European Union funds, to which Germany and France are the main contributors. We are also proud to be, together with the EU and its Member States, Nigeria’s first trading partner.
Through civil society organisations, companies, major cooperation bodies such as the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French Institute and Alliances, the Goethe Institut, the French Research Institute (IFRA), a newly installed German Hydrogen Office in Abuja and many more, France and Germany have established privileged relations with Nigeria that we will continue to strengthen in the future.”
The two ambassadors promised that as long as Nigeria continues steadily along its path of democracy, both their countries with other members of the European Union would support the ongoing electoral process.
Günther and Blatmann said: “As France and Germany continue along their path of friendship here and throughout the world, Nigeria continues steadily along its path of democracy. We are proud to support, together with the European Union, the ongoing electoral process and to see all the efforts and improvements that have been made to ensure the rule of law as well as free, fair and credible elections so that all Nigerians can freely express themselves, whether men or women, young or old, northerners or southerners, and whatever their religion or ethnicity.
Just like the Franco-German friendship, l’amitié franco-allemande, is a model to many, we strongly believe that Nigeria’s democratic tradition is an example, carrying along stability, progress, peace and prosperity for the entire region.”
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