By Catherine Sasman WINDHOEK Bidding farewell to the Namibian Government and other diplomatic missions in Namibia, French Ambassador Philippe BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re said France’s European Union presidency here would be geared towards constructing political dialogue with Namibia, including discussions on beleaguered Zimbabwe. BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re announced his departure from his posting after two years in the country on the French national day on Monday. While commending the resolution of the African Union adopted in Sharm-El-Sheikh on 1 July, BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re said the Zimbabwean election results of 29 March should serve as a basis for a political settlement in that country. He said the EU encourages the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and South African president Thabo Mbeki to step up their efforts “to allow the Zimbabwean people to rapidly regain much-anticipated peace. “We are convinced that Namibia, as a member of SADC, can play a positive role in this direction,” BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re said. Namibian Foreign Affairs Minister Marco Hausiku responded that Namibia is indeed seeking a “durable” solution to the situation in Zimbabwe. “Namibia as an African country and member of SADC may have different interests and approaches [to the Zimbabwean situation], but the most important issue is that we would want to achieve that political parties come together and address the situation,” Hausiku said. “We will always stand and pronounce ourselves that this is the only solution,” he added. Bilateral relations between the French and Namibian governments have strengthened over the years. A cooperation framework agreement for the period 2007 to 2011 signed in September last year has opened the way for the return of the French Development Agency (AFD) to Namibia. BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re said in the next four years, the AFD would offer its participation in projects in the energy, housing and roads sectors for more than N$1 billion. French company AREVA, through its branch URAMIN and in cooperation with Namibian partners, will launch its operations at the Trekkopje uranium mine by next year. The project is said to be one of the largest uranium mines in the world, and is the biggest foreign investment project in Namibia to the tune of N$6 billion. This mine is anticipated to employ 800 people, said BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re. BossiÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¨re added that the modernisation of the public service is another priority of French cooperation here, as is good governance and crime prevention primarily in the City of Windhoek.
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