Equatorial Guinea Statement on UNESCO Controversy

Jun 14, 2010, 09:57 ET from Republic of Equatorial Guinea

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, June 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Government of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) released the following statement today regarding recent statements made in the international media and community regarding the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences:

"The Government of Equatorial Guinea deeply regrets the controversy currently taking place in the international community regarding the UNESCO Prize -- particularly among friendly nations such as France, which have even recently praised us for our progress. There exists a great deal of misperception about Equatorial Guinea, an issue that is partly our fault since we have not always responded to inaccuracies that have appeared in the international press or have been perpetuated by our critics. This will now change.

"Equatorial Guinea is working both to improve itself and contribute to the international community -- thanks to the blessing of our recently discovered natural resources. The UNESCO Prize is a part of this effort. We are also now taking steps to be more transparent and proactive in communicating the progress we are making as we strive to transform from the poor country that we were into an emergent, sustainable economy.

"Although the UNESCO controversy has highlighted the fact that Equatorial Guinea faces many challenges, which is true, the situation is being viewed through an outdated understanding of what our Government is and what Equatorial Guinea is like. The real challenges that exist for us are in improving the health, education, culture and professional skills of our citizens -- so that in the future we as a nation can successfully achieve our goals. We now ask that the international community and media give us a second look and chance to explain what is occurring within our nation. We further ask that the UNESCO Prize be looked at for what positive contributions it will be making to benefit all of humanity."

About the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences: The UNESCO Executive Board has approved and will soon award the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Price for Research in the Life Sciences, an award sponsored by the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial), Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and supported by the international community, particularly African nations. The award aims to reward projects and activities by a person, group, scientific institution, or other entity or organization that has contributed, through research, to the improvement of the quality of human life. The award, which will be worth $300,000, will be awarded once a year for an initial period of five years. The initiative arose as a personal proposal of the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) during his speech at the General Conference of UNESCO in October 2007. It is a part of the efforts the Government of Equatorial Guinea is making to contribute to the global community and advance the welfare of the citizens of its country.

About Equatorial Guinea

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, and one of the smallest nations on the continent. In the late-1990s, American companies helped discover the country’s oil and natural gas resources, which only within the last five years began contributing to the global energy supply. Equatorial Guinea is now working to serve as a pillar of stability and security in its region of West Central Africa. The country will host the 2011 Summit of the African Union. For more information, visit http://www.guineaecuatorialpress.com.

This has been distributed by Qorvis Communications, LLC on behalf of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. More information is available at the United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

SOURCE Republic of Equatorial Guinea