Taipei, June 23 (CNA)
Taiwan's president and premier both welcomed Burkina Faso interim Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida with open arms in separate occasions Tuesday and declared that the friendship between the two countries was stable.
President Ma Ying-jeou met the Zida-led delegation at the Presidential Office and described Zida as a solid friend of the Republic of China (ROC).
Burkina Faso is one of 22 countries that maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
In talks with Zida, Ma spoke of cooperation between Taiwan and Burkina Faso in the fields of agriculture, health care and renewable energy. He made special mention of Taiwan's "Lighting Up Africa" relief program being carried out in the West African country.
The president said Taiwan planned to donate 145,000 solar energy-powered lamps to 916 rural schools in Burkina Faso over four years under the program, and as of May 31, 126,000 lamps, or 87 percent of the planned total, had been delivered.
Earlier in the day, Zida and the Burkina Faso delegation visited Premier Mao Chi-kuo at Executive Yuan headquarters. During the meeting, Mao praised relations between the ROC and Burkina Faso as close and friendly, and he thanked the African ally for its constant support for the ROC in the international community.
Mao described Zida as someone who was very familiar with the ROC's economic development and its cooperative links with Burkina Faso and as one of the ROC's most solid friends and cooperative partners. Zida was named prime minister and defense minister of the interim government after Blaise Compaor?was ousted from power by a popular youth upheaval in October 2014. The interim prime minister had visited Taiwan four times before his current visit.
The 18-member Burkina Faso delegation arrived in Taiwan on Monday for a five-day visit at the invitation of the ROC (Taiwan) government. It will leave on June 26. (By Claudia Liu, Hsieh Chia-chen and Elizabeth Hsu)