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Ambassador Rivoal's Speech at the Peace and Reconciliation Award Ceremony

15.03.2018 - Article

Es ist lange her, dass ich Deutsch gesprochen habe. Aber heute Abend für meinen deutschen Freund Albrecht, ich werde es versuchen. Sie sehen, wie weit ich bereit bin, um die Freundschaft zwischen Frankreich und Deutschland zu feiern…

And… this is it for me!

No doubt that Albrecht can beat me at this game since he pushed his efforts to bring Germany and France together so much at heart that he made the wise choice to marry a beautiful French lady. Wise man he is!

As you can tell, today is a special and emotional celebration, as always. It gives me, it gives us the opportunity to remember at all times the possible ways to find in our hearts forgiveness and reconciliation, to find peace, stability, friendship no matter the circumstances.

Indeed, on 22nd January, 1963, less than 20 years after WWII, which was the bloodiest conflict of all time, General Charles de Gaulle, President of the French Republic and Dr Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany signed a treaty. Andthis treaty made History. It sealed the irrevocable commitment of Germany and France forpeace and friendship between our citizens and between European countries after the long journey of reconciliation.

We are very proud to celebrate today the 55th Anniversary of the signing of the Elysée Treaty. This bold, ambitious text has crossed history and has been guiding our willing and acts for decades. So far, this strong friendship between our two countries has proven to be solid, reliable in good times and in bad times.

It’s hand to hand that we can act and look forward. One of the strongest political symbol of our relationship is the 1984 picture which is displayed tonight: the French President François Mitterrand and the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl holding hands, standing in front of the memorial to the battle of Verdun, the bloodiest of WWI.

Some people call it the Elysée Treaty the Treaty of Friendship. A Treaty of Friendship thataddresses three main goals:

- To seal the reconciliation between France and Germany;

- Creating a genuine friendship between our two countries ;

- And to foster the construction of “a united Europe, which is the goal of the two people”

And so we did indeed.

We reconciled.

Reconciliation is a corner-stone for history of our both countries. We were enemies, we were adversaries, we were even “hereditary enemies”. We lost so many solders, citizens. And we stopped.

We became friends.

Germany and France stand today in front of you, shoulder to shoulder, here today, in Uganda, in every countries in Africa, in Europe and the World. And when it comes to Albrecht and I, we became indeed friends instantly.

We built Europe

We also should remember what Laurent Fabius and Guido Westerwelle said for the 50th anniversary of the Treaty : « What was true yesterday still is today: young people are the keyto our common future. Our mission is still to teach both countries' young people the advantages and importance of getting to know their neighbour. »

Our friendship is naturally extended to Uganda for the purpose of sharing, enjoying, supporting each other for a better future.

As history echoes itself, it is also worth remembering that 1963, not only seals Germany and France reconciliation but also marks the beginning of another long journey, initiated by the newly independent African countries: the rise of a sovereign Africa, aspiring with the same strength and spirit to unity and peace.

Uganda has also experienced war in its mist. The reconciliation is still in process through different approaches from amnesty given by the government; the ongoing work of the International Criminal Court (ICC); and through the massive fieldwork done by nongovernmental organizations. It will take time but it will succeed.

How can we not, given a common History that shall never be forgotten, be entirely committed with all our energy at individual and collective level to a Peace that is the only, the sole way to prosperity and happiness of our people and our children.

Es lebe Deutschland !

Vive la France!

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