ECOWAS / ECCAS Summit: “Everything is ready”, According to Minister Robert Dussey

Lome will be in the limelight in a few days. And for good reason, the Togolese capital houses the joint summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and those of ECCAS and the meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State respectively on July 30th and 31st. In an interview given to our colleagues from the Agence Savoir News, the head of the Togolese diplomacy, Prof. Robert Dussey returned mainly to the organization of the ECOWAS / ECCAS summit. The Minister of Foreign Affairs for African Cooperation and Integration insists that everything is ready for this high-level meeting.

Read below the entire interview.

Savoir News: Minister, everything is ready for this great meeting? If not, what are the last settings?

Robert Dussey: Lome, the Togolese capital is historically known to all, to be the crossroads of major international conferences. This year, we hosted about ten sub-regional and international meetings, including those of the ACP-EU, the 79
of the ACP and the 28 of the EU, and those of two important bodies of ECOWAS, namely the Council of Europe. Mediation and Security, and the Council of Foreign Ministers. The President of the Republic Faure Gnassingbé and his government work to ensure a perfect organization of all major meetings that Lome hosts, and to the satisfaction of all Togolese. At the time I am speaking to you, we are totally ready, and on all levels.

Two meetings took place in recent days in Lomé as a prelude to this summit? Can you come back to these two meetings for our readers? And what did the participants discuss?

As elsewhere, all summits of Heads of State and Government are preceded by several preparatory sessions, including those of experts and ministers. This was the case a few days ago, that is to say on July 10, 11, 2018 in Lomé, where experts from ECOWAS and ECCAS discussed peace, security, stability, the fight against against terrorism and violent extremism, the theme that will be at the heart of the unprecedented Summit of Heads of State and Government of the two Community spaces. Of course, the reflection on this theme has made it possible to scrutinize the security situation in the two Community spaces, but also the national strategies for the fight against terrorism, as well as the legal instruments in this area and the final declaration.

Approximately how many Heads of State and Government are expected at this Summit, as Togo has a strong tradition of mobilizing Heads of State for these major meetings .

A small calculation of the member countries of ECOWAS and ECCAS, and you will know it (laughter)! We are expecting about twenty heads of state and government.

An ECOWAS-ECCAS Summit …. What will be the main topics on the menu?

As I said, debates will focus on peace, security, stability, the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. It will be for ECOWAS and ECCAS to have a strong involvement in securing the two spaces, pledge of all growth prospects or development of our nations. END

Interview by Junior AUREL (Savoir News)

[Interview] Robert Dussey : “Togo and Israel have very good bilateral cooperation”

Most Israelis would have trouble finding Togo on a map or name one significant fact about it. It’s a tiny country that rarely features in the Israeli headlines. And yet, it is one of the most pro-Israel places in the African continent. It is no wonder then that Togolese Foreign Minister Professor Robert Dussey begins his interview with the declaration that “I came here to reassure [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu that Togo will support Israel. Our support for Israel is constant.”

Officially the minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration, Dussey is one of the strongest political figures in his country (and the entire continent). He thinks of Israel as his second home, both spiritually and politically. So much so, in fact, that he can’t even remember how many times he has visited Israel.

The reason for this deep connection with the people of Zion may lie in the fact that before he was appointed minister, for 10 years, Dussey served in a number of different roles in the Community of the Beatitudes. For this Catholic group, the welfare of Israel and the Jewish people is a top priority. Ever since he was a Catholic monk and to this day, Dussey recites daily prayers in Hebrew, maintaining a strong spiritual bond with Israel.

Dussey is 46 years old. He began his career in the academic world (he still works as a professor of political philosophy). During our interview, he spontaneously begins to sing the Shema Yisrael prayer in his community’s special tune. At another point during the interview, he mentioned Psalms 137:5: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.”

“I have a personal link with Israel,” he says. “I was a monk and I was a member of Community of Beatitudes that prays every day for the Jewish people. Every day we pray for peace for Israel and particularly peace in Jerusalem. On the weekend we celebrate Shabbat together, and after the prayer we share the Shabbat bread and sing Shabbat songs in Hebrew. If you have this spiritual link with the Jewish people and with Israel and you have to protect the Israeli people.”

“For me, the Israeli people and the Jewish people are, first and foremost, the people of God. It is a personal decision, it is my own conviction, and I will do everything for this conviction. I spent more than 10 years of my life praying for peace in Jerusalem, praying for the Jewish people and for Israel. For me, Israel is very important and I need to defend Israel and the people of Israel.”

The timing of Israel Hayom’s interview with Dussey was particularly relevant in underscoring Togo’s uncompromising support for Israel – it took place a day before the U.N. General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning Israel, but not Hamas, for Gaza border clashes. Dussey made it clear that the Togolese representative at the U.N. would go against the grain and, once again, be among the only envoys to vote against the resolution with the U.S. and Israel.

“I know in Togo we are courageous,” he says. “Everybody knows that Togo supports Israel every time. It is not the first time that we voted for Israel in international forums. In Geneva for example, at the Human Rights Council, Togo votes for Israel, it defends Israel’s position. It is our position, we defend it.”

Q: Where does this deep connection to Israel come from?

“Togo and Israel have very good bilateral cooperation and of course, it is growing stronger and stronger. Last year, we were supposed to host a summit, the first Israeli-African summit. Unfortunately, the summit was postponed. Togo received a lot of pressure from a lot of Arabic countries, and some African countries too. But I hope we will do it in the future.”

Togo was the only African country to vote with Israel and the U.S. to block a U.N. resolution condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. Generally speaking, despite the fact that Togo has no embassy in Jerusalem, the country’s pro-Israel stance has significantly intensified in recent years.

But at the same time, Togo wants to retain its status in Africa (Togo heads the important regional body ECOWAS, which comprises 15 African countries, for example), so it makes sure to maintain good relations with its neighbors.

Q: Was there a strong backlash in Africa when Togo voted with Israel on Jerusalem at the U.N.?

“Of course, you know we received a lot of calls from different capitals in the world. They condemned our decision, but we this was the decision we made.”

Q: Do you think Togo has the power to influence other countries to support Israel in the same way?

“I think it is possible, but our vision is dialogue with all African countries, to know exactly what is happening in this region. What we need is peace in the Middle East and in Israel and everywhere in the world.

“Some African countries don’t know what is happening really in this region, but we are talking with them, we are trying to explain to our interlocutors and let them make their own decisions. We believe we will find peace when God decides.”

Q: Other countries often want to make use of Israeli expertise in defense, in the war on terror and in agriculture. Does Togo share that desire?

“Of course, we share a lot of things with Israel. We have good cooperation in our health sector and our agriculture sector. For example, just for our health sector, we inaugurated three weeks ago the first trauma center in Togo, one of the best in the West African region. … Our bilateral cooperation is very good.

“In Africa, and in Togo, we have enormous resources, but unfortunately we don’t have the expertise to exploit our resources. Israel has expertise, we have a lot of engineers and we need your expertise to come to Africa to help us with our resources.”

Q: The president of Togo has said that you want Israel to return to Africa and that African returns to Israel. What does he mean by that?

“I support my president. If I am here it is because he is one of the best friends of Israel. His vision about the cooperation between Israel and Africa is very good. For him it is very simple, we need the Israeli people to come back to Africa. Before 1980, Israel was in Africa, Israel had a lot of embassies in Africa, in Togo … but we need Israel to come back to Africa, Israeli businessman have to come back to Africa, Israeli business people have to invest there.”

Q: So how is it that despite the close bilateral relations, most Israelis don’t really know Togo all that well?

“Togo is a West African country; it is just one country among 54 African countries. We want to present Togo to everyone in the world, particularly in Israel. Maybe you can come, if you want to know Africa, it is a door to West Africa.”

Q: You are probably the only professor who is also a minister in the government. Does that put you in a better position to solve the problems, considering that you are a political theorist? Have you ever tried to implement academic theories in politics?

“I try to do my best. When you are in politics you need to shift from theory to practice. It is not easy when you have to work or take a position to defend Israel. But that is our decision.”

Q: Do you have an example of a theory you tried to implement?

“You know, my favorite philosopher is Emmanuel Kant – I did my Ph.D. on him, I teach him. One of the best books he wrote was ‘Perpetual Peace.'”

Q: Is it applicable here in this region?

“I think it is possible if you have the will to do something…”

———-

Source : http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/06/24/i-will-do-everything-for-israel-togolese-foreign-minister-says/

[Interview] Robert Dussey: “This summit inaugurates a new era of multilateral partnership between Africa and Israel”

The head of the Togolese diplomacy, Professor Robert Dussey, returns from Israel where he met at length with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Their discussions, which were very fruitful, resulted in the first ever Africa-Israel Summit in Lomé, Togo, from 16 to 20 October 2017. Remember that last August, the Head of State, Faure Gnassingbe, had himself stayed in Togo for four days. An official visit during which several conventions were signed. The forthcoming organization of this Summit on African soil (Togolese) is the materialization of the will to anchor the Hebrew State on the black continent.

AFRIQUEDUCATION: You have just visited Israel, at the request of the President of the Republic, Faure Gnassingbe, who allowed you to meet Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. An Israel-Africa summit will be held in Lomé from 16 to 20 October. Can you tell us about that?

Professor Robert Dussey: I made an official visit to Israel on 23 and 24 January 2017, during which I met with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Our discussions highlighted the holding in Lome of the first Africa-Israel Summit on “High Technology and Security”. The Summit will bring together African Heads of State and Government and Israeli leaders to discuss issues related to high technology, security and development. As you know, today the State of Israel is a benchmark in the aforementioned areas and the African continent, which has enormous potential, needs this expertise from the Hebrew State to continue its The emergence. This meeting will also be an opportunity for African and Israeli businessmen to share their experiences and forge new partnerships. So I can add that in the context of globalization, Africa needs to diversify its partners, as it already does with others. This Summit is part of the warming of relations between Israel and Africa.

The Israeli Prime Minister will be present in Lomé, just like several African Heads of State and Government, you have just confirmed. Will this summit be organized under the aegis of the African Union, or is it a bilateral initiative of Togolese diplomacy to which African countries are invited?

It is an individual approach of the Togolese diplomacy and this one derives from an observation. In reality, Israel maintains bilateral, political, economic and socio-cultural cooperation relations with many African countries. The Togolese initiative is to bring together the African countries and the State of Israel to define a global framework for its relations with a view to pooling efforts and means in order to make significant progress on the political level and on economic development And social. It is therefore the Togolese government in collaboration with Israel that mobilizes the other African countries in the context of this first Africa-Israel Summit.

What are the expected outcomes of this Summit?

This Summit will inaugurate a new era of multilateral partnership between Africa and Israel and will define common strategies to address the security and development challenges of the day. It is also hoped to launch a hub on technological innovations whose activities will boost different sectors of the economy including agricultural, medical, scientific, etc. This important event will allow the African and Israeli private sectors to get to know each other better in order to increase exchanges between Africa and the Hebrew State. This Summit will be sanctioned by a Declaration that will seal the commitment of both Parties to consolidate their relations.

What is the ambition of President Faure Gnassingbe by hosting this Summit which can draw him some troubles on the side of the Arab countries?

First, it should be noted that through this initiative, the President of the Republic, Faure Gnassingbé, wants to play a leadership role in the framework of the relations between Israel and Africa. Today, the dynamism of the Togolese diplomacy requires that Togo can put itself in the strategy, taking initiatives to make diplomacy a true tool of development. In welcoming this Summit, it is the international outreach of our country that will be affirmed, as recently, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on Security, Maritime Security and Development in Africa. Trouble? I do not see because we have very good diplomatic relations and solid cooperation with our Arab partners. I believe that the establishment of a co-operative framework between Africa and Israel will, I believe, encourage the creation of channels of political discussion in order to have positions acceptable to all on certain issues. Togolese diplomacy, under the enlightened vision of the President of the Republic, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, is expanding. The organization of this first Africa-Israel Summit is a new coup d’etat for this one and consolidates the influence of the Togolese Republic in the world. Through this outreach, Togolese diplomacy certainly attracts investment to our country in order to ensure the economic and social well-being of the people.

 

Source: Africa Education N ° 449 / February 2017
by Aristide Koné

[Interview] Robert Dussey: "Togolese diplomacy is fine".

“Togolese diplomacy is doing fine,” said Robert Dussey, Minister of Foreign Affairs, cooperation and African integration, in an exclusive interview with the News Agency knowledge. Mr. Dussey takes little stock of diplomatic activities in 2016.

SavoirNews: How is today Togolese diplomacy?

Robert Dussey: Togolese diplomacy is fine. You, journalists, you are also witnesses to the “return of Togo on the international stage”. The agenda of this year 2016 finishing, shown so well as you may have noticed yourself…

SavoirNews: After a year of intense activity, up to the balance sheet. A few are the major actions taken by your Department in 2016?

For us, every day, every week and every month counts to meet the challenges of Togolese diplomacy. The vision of the president of the Republic, is to reposition the Togo in the concert of nations, which explains the many actions of Togolese diplomacy, who will visit here in Lomé (3, 4, 5 January 2016) Gerd Muller, German Minister for cooperation and development, to the successful diaspora initiative (January 15, 2016), a first in sub-Saharan Africa ,
through the spring of germano-togolaise cooperation (3, 4, 5 April 2016), an event universally liked by Berlin and Lomé, without forgetting the week of African integration, celebrated with pomp (23 to May 28, 2016), the 3rd edition of the Africa strategic Orientation Committee of the Western Union European (22-24 June 2016), the Africa China USA Consultations for peace (27-July 28, 2016).

This join State visits of president Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBÉ in China (29 to June 2, 2016), in Germany (8 to 3 June 2016), and Israel (7-11 August 2016), Kenya (11-13 December 2016), but also that of Manuel VALLS, former Prime Minister french, in Lomé.

Almanac 2016 Togolese diplomacy, will also hold the top extraordinary African Union on security and maritime security and development in Africa, held from 10 to 15 October last in Lome. Of course, talking about this Summit, is evoke the Lomé Charter, a first in Africa!

SavoirNews: What activity, you most?

As a journalist, and from the outside, you know better than us! Many of these activities are different from the other, and therefore not comparable.

But they illuminate Togo on the international scene and contribute to its repositioning in the concert of nations. So, it’s Togo that comes out again (…) grew up.
SavoirNews: December 7, you have again awarded the best agents of your Department. This is the third time that you ask such an act. On what criteria these agents selected?

As much we do economic diplomacy, a tool at the service of the development of Togo, as we believe that human resources must be of quality, as we believe he had to motivate all personnel to achieve this challenge, where “Award of excellence”.  These agents were judged on several criteria including: the social dimension, the professional dimension and the intellectual dimension.

Of course, these different dimensions or criteria have been rated by an independent jury, supported by the experts from the National for employment (ANPE). This edition of 2016, we therefore award winning 4 people (1 use, 1 Secretary, 1 frame and 1 officer).

SavoirNews: The second edition of the spring of germano-togolaise cooperation will be held beginning April 2017, a subject that you have indeed addressed to Berlin, during your recent visit. What are the innovations?

This initiative ‘spring of germano-togolaise cooperation’ is an expression of the vitality of the diplomatic and economic relations between Berlin and Lomé. The first edition (3, 4, 5 April 2016) was a success for all German and Togolese players.

The second edition which will be held on 3, 4, 5 April 2017, will see the participation of countries in the hinterland (Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso) Togo served from its deep water port (the only one in the Sub West African region).

Togo, which has a long history with the Germany, but also with its partners in the subregion, will give on the occasion of this second edition of the spring of the germano-togolaise cooperation, a strongly cultural cachet, particularly for the Germans and Togolese peoples. Also, partners from the private sector (in variety) will be mobilized to this second edition…

SavoirNews: A last word?

Thank you for your interest in Togo through his diplomacy. Also I would like to acknowledge and thank all the media and our partners who support us in our activities. Finally, I would like to wish you to yourself, to all men and women of the media, to our partners and to all, a happy year of health and success in 2017.

END

Interview given to Junior AUREL
Source: SavoirNews