To mark the 57th anniversary of the signing of the Franco-German treaty of friendship (Elysée Treaty), Their Excellencies, Jules-Armand Aniambossou, Ambassador of France to Uganda, and Albrecht Conze, Ambassador of Germany to Uganda, hosted guests at a joint reception on Wednesday at the German Residence in Kampala.
During the occasion, the 4th Franco-German Peace and Reconciliation Award, a local initiative of the two diplomatic missions in Kampala, was given to Primah Kwagala, a human rights lawyer and founder of Women’s Pro Bono Initiative (WPI), an NGO offering free legal services to vulnerable women and girls whose rights are being violated.
The Women’s Pro Bono Initiative has been instrumental in aiding women who due to financial constraints and other reasons cannot afford commercial lawyers yet they too have a right to have access to legal justice.
The guest of honor, Hon. Henry Okello Oryem, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, congratulated Germany and France upon celebrating 57 years of friendship, a treaty he said, ushered in positive dynamics on the European continent, including the peace that has formed the bedrock of Europe.
Speaking at the event, Albrecht Conze, Germany ambassador to Uganda cited that, “the German-French friendship not only remains the guarantee for the European Union to move ahead, but also for Europe to remain Africa’s closest and strongest partner.”
Ambassador Jules-Armand Aniambossou underscored the relevance of the Elysee treaty today, saying “in a world that faces multiples challenges, where nationalism is booming and where deadly ideologies are developing, the Franco-German relationship and the unique partnership between the two countries could be a beautiful example of reconciliation that can inspire other countries and regions of the world.”
What to know about the Elysée Treaty
The Elysée Treaty was signed on 22 January 1963 by France and the Federal Republic of Germany following several decades of rivalries and conflicts.
Germany and France sent a message of reconciliation and laid the groundwork for close bilateral cooperation to support European integration.
Dubbed ‘Franco-German friendship treaty,’ the treaty was signed by President Charles de Gaulle of France and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer at Élysée palace in France.
The treaty sealed reconciliation between the two countries and laid the foundation for a long lasting era of peace and friendship between France and Germany, leading to close consultations at political, economic and cultural levels.
In Europe, the Elysée Treaty was instrumental in the establishment of the European Union, France and Germany being its founding members.
In Uganda for example, as in many other countries, the cultural institutions of the two countries, the Alliance française de Kampala and the Goethe Zentrum cultural centres share the same building on Bukoto street in Kamwokya, in the spirit of togetherness of the treaty.
The French and German Embassies in Uganda organize several joint events, including the Kampala Geopolitics conference which has so far been held twice at Makerere University, involving Alliance Française and Konrad Adenauer Stifftung.
Last year, on the 56th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel signed in Aachen, Germany, a new Franco-German friendship and integration treaty.
The Aachen Treaty does not replace the Elysée Treaty but rather puts it in the context of the 21st century challenges.
It also encompasses several topics such as peace, security, culture, education, research and mobility, sustainable development, climate, environment and business among others.