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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 12:35 GMT
Scotland signs Malawi help accord
President Mutharika and Jack McConnell signed the accord
President Mutharika and Jack McConnell signed the accord
The president of Malawi has declared friendship with Scotland and war on political corruption in his own impoverished African nation.

President Bingu wa Mutharika said an impeachment move against him in Malawi was driven by political rivals.

The co-operation agreement, signed in Edinburgh, should open the door for further practical help from Scotland.

It will be followed by detailed plans to assist in areas such as health, education and economic development.

'Historic agreement'

Four million people in Malawi are facing starvation but the threat of famine has not united politicians, with accusations that public funds have been used to support the ruling political party.

Scotland believes it can help channel practical aid to Africa, but President Mutharika knows he must tackle corruption claims to reassure donors.

Aid agencies have urged Scots to add their voices to those demanding emergency aid for Malawi.

President Mutharika warmly welcomed the pact and sought to reassure global donors by pledging to root out corruption at home.

First Minister Jack McConnell described it as an "historic" agreement cementing a 150-year friendship between the two countries.

Scottish and Malawi flags
Links have been developing between Scotland and Malawi

Dr Mutharika said: "Perhaps for the first time, a country in the north, Scotland, is twinning up with a country in the south, Malawi, to look at problems more closely.

"I think this sets a new pattern in global relations.

"If others could emulate this example, we believe that the issues of poverty, hunger and famine could be tackled more effectively."

At a joint press conference at Bute House, the First Minister's official residence in Edinburgh, the president defended himself against claims of corruption, blaming political opponents.

He said: "The idea is that they quickly came up with impeachment, with the hope of getting me out of the way (so they could) get back and cover up all things they were doing, and reinstate some of the corruption and continue to plunder Malawi."

Malawi is setting up a commercial court to tackle corruption and the president suggested Scotland could help out in this by donating furniture, or computers.

"There are a lot of areas in which Scotland could help fight corruption," he said.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See what the accord will mean to Malawi



SEE ALSO:
Malawi president hails Scots link
02 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Malawi impeachment drive halted
26 Oct 05 |  Africa
Funding hopes for Malawi charity
25 Oct 05 |  Scotland
McConnell's anger at Malawi call
21 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Call to help avert Malawi crisis
06 Sep 05 |  Scotland
McConnell unveils Malawi appeal
01 Jun 05 |  Scotland


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