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General News of Monday, 9 July 2007

Source: GNA

Italian President calls on Parliament

Accra, July 9, GNA - His Excellency, Mr. Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy, on Monday said the European Union (EU) had a role to play in ensuring the unity and integration of Africa. He has, therefore, called for greater cooperation between the EU and the African Union, saying the EU has to make some financial commitment to enable Africa move towards unity.

Mr Napolitano said these when he paid a courtesy call on Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, the Speaker, and a section of Members of the Parliament.

The Italian President, on a state visit to Ghana, said he had been an MP before, both in Italy and the European Union, adding that parliament should be a place where all political forces could meet, dialogue and listen to each other.

He said it should be possible for the parliament of Ghana and Italy to form a friendship association to exchange ideas. Touching on relations between the two countries, he said Ghanaian immigrants in Italy were doing well and contributing to Italy's economy, and extended a welcome to them in Italy.

Mr Sekyi Hughes, in his response, said it was significant that the Italian President had used his visit, to interact with the representatives of the people by visiting the Ghanaian Parliament. "It shows his belief in parliamentary democracy and Ghana's young democracy," he said.

He said Ghana had, over the years, benefited from Italian assistance in various fields, including technical support and the cancellation of debts running into millions of dollars under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative, which has benefited Ghana tremendously.

The Speaker said a number of African parliaments, including Ghana, had also benefited from Italy under an information communication technology package, which has facilitated the work of legislatures across the continent.

He proposed the established of an association between Ghana and Italy's Parliament.