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    EU Parliament Approves Deal on Improved Market Access With 6 African States

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    Members of the European Parliament approved on Wednesday an agreement with Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho on the duty-free access to the European market and a better market access for South Africa, a statement issued by the EU body Wednesday said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The deal was approved by 417 votes with 66 abstentions.

    "This agreement will help our African partner states to reduce poverty and can also facilitate their smooth and gradual integration into the world economy. There are also many safeguards in the deal to ensure that local people truly benefit from this cooperation. The language on human rights and sustainable development is one of the strongest that you will find in any EU agreement," member and rapporteur of EU parliament Alexander Graf Lambsdorff was quoted as saying in the statement.

    The accord ensures access to the EU market without duties or quotas. According to the European Commission, this step will help to fight poverty and contribute to sustainable development and regional integration.

    The agreement also contains a list of trade-related areas that could potentially profit from EU cooperation but not yet included.

    The agreement will come into force after formal approval by the Council of the European Union and ratification of the text by the parliaments of the six African states.

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    European Parliament, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa
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