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The Heads of State of Senegal and Guyana have lent a boost to ongoing efforts to rally African, Caribbean and Pacific countries together to ensure they speak in one coherent voice, as they prepare to negotiate a future partnership agreement with the European Union.
The President of Senegal Macky Sall was the first to address the ACP Committee of Ambassadors on Wednesday 7 June on the relations between the 79-member ACP Group of States and the EU post-2020. The current partnership framework, known as the Cotonou Agreement, is a legally-binding treaty that lays out parameters for trade, development cooperation, and political dialogue between the two blocs. The Agreement expires in February 2020, and talks for a follow-up accord are set to begin in 2018.
Both EU and ACP sides are making important preparations for this process.
“The ACP Group is to be a coherent political force dedicated to defending and upholding the interests of our member states on essential issues. We need to protect the unity of our Group,” President Sall told African, Caribbean and Pacific envoys in Brussels.
He added that to foster coherence and consistency amongst member states, full consultations are needed to identify common issues for collaboration. He called for the “independent development” of ACP member states, while recognising their respective social and cultural value systems.
Finally, President Sall stressed the importance of South-South cooperation for the future of the ACP Group.
On the same day in a separate session, the President of Guyana Brigadier David A. Granger also commended the Committee of Ambassadors and the ACP Secretariat for the preparation towards the post-Cotonou talks.
“The negotiations represent an opportunity for ensuring environmental security and economic security for ACP states and of reinforcing the Group’s solidarity,” he stated.
President Granger said that any future ACP-EU agreement “must usher in a new era of economic relations between the North and the South,” where ACP countries become drivers of global economic, human and social development in the 21st century.
Post-2020 relations should support the transformation of ACP economies through investment in industries, infrastructure and information communications technology.
Moreover, environmental security need to be ensured, with measures to promote climate adaptation, guarantee food security and support sustainable livelihoods, supported by development finance accessible by all ACP countries, including middle-income countries.
The two Presidents made the remarks at the ACP House, in the margins of the annual European Development Days held in Brussels.
The Dean of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, Daniel Evina Abe’e of Cameroon spoke on behalf of his peers to welcome the high level visitors, and affirm the commitment of ACP representatives to realising the vision of the Group as a more visible and effective global player, as well as negotiating a follow up partnership with the EU that will work in the best interest of ACP countries and people.
SOURCE: ACP PRESS/PACNEWS
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