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Joint Statement by India and Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe during the visit of Dr. Carlos Alberto Pires Tiny, Minister of Foreign Affairs

December 02, 2009

His Excellency Dr. Carlos Alberto Pires Tiny, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation & Communities of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe paid an official visit to India from 29th November to 2nd December, 2009. This was the first high-level visit on either side, since the island nation got its independence from Portugal in 1975.

The Sao Tomean Foreign Minister held extensive discussions with Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, which covered the entire gamut of bilateral relations. Both sides identified specific areas for expanding and strengthening bilateral cooperation.

India assured Sao Tome and Principe of its support in the form of official developmental assistance, technical cooperation and capacity building to facilitate the rapid economic & social development of its people. In this context, the Government of India announced a grant of US$1 million for setting up a Technology Incubation-cum-Production Centre for development of SME sector and another grant of Rs.10 million for meeting immediate requirements in education and health sectors. In response to STP's request for benefiting from India's concessional Lines of Credit, the Indian side agreed to favourably consider a Line of Credit for US$5 million for priority projects to be identified by the STP side in the fields of agriculture, capacity building and infrastructure.

Recognising the pioneering role played by India in promoting South-South Cooperation and its significant contribution in international peace-keeping, Sao Tome and Principe announced its support for India to become a Permanent Member of an expanded UN Security Council. It also assured India of its support for a Non-Permanent seat for the term 2011-2012.

Both the Ministers signed a Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations, enabling Senior officials of the respective Foreign Ministries to have regular interaction on bilateral, regional and international issues.

Earlier, the visiting Sao Tomean Foreign Minister held separate discussions with Senior officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and ONGC Videsh Limited to discuss possibilities of bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbons sector. The Sao Tomean Foreign Minister also visited the Indian PSUs, National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) and the Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL). Sao Tome and Principe became the 47th country to join the Government of India's Pan-African e-Network Project, when the Minister signed the MOU with TCIL.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised an interactive session in honour of the visiting Sao Tomean Foreign Minister, which was chaired by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs. Dr. Tiny made an impressive presentation on the investment opportunities available in Sao Tome & Principe for Indian investors, particularly in the development of a Free Trade Economic Zone in his country. He also highlighted Agriculture, Food production, Small and Medium Enterprises, Infrastructure and Tourism as sectors of interest for the Indian entrepreneurs.

New Delhi
December 2, 2009

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