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'Timely'

ACP president welcomes adoption of EU negotiating mandate for post-Cotonou Agreement

Saturday, June 23, 2018

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THE European Commission has received authorisation from the European Council to open negotiations for a new partnership agreement with the 79 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith, who is also the president of the ACP Council of Ministers, has warmly welcomed the adoption by the European Council on June 21 of the EU negotiating mandate for a post-Cotonou Agreement with the ACP Group of countries, a release from the ministry said yesterday.

In a statement, Johnson Smith declared: “The adoption of the negotiating mandate by the European Council is a most timely and welcome development. It forms a necessary step in the process towards the launch of the negotiations which is expected to take place in July, and will chart a new and dynamic course in the framework for ACP-EU cooperation.”

For its part, the release said the ACP Group adopted its own negotiating mandate on May 30, 2018 during the 107th Session of ACP Council held in Lome, Togo. Johnson Smith presided over that meeting and, according to the release, skilfully guided the discussions to a consensus on the terms of the mandate and the adoption of an all-ACP approach to the negotiations with the EU.

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement was concluded in 2000 and is set to expire in February 2020. The agreement, the release said, has fostered the development of a diverse partnership between the EU and the ACP in areas such as economic and trade cooperation, political dialogue and development cooperation.

The new agreement to be in place after 2020 will seek to strengthen and modernise this partnership, with emphasis on sustainable development and enhanced cooperation in multilateral fora, the release continued.

Minister Johnson Smith further affirmed that, “Jamaica remains deeply committed to the ACP-EU relationship and will continue to play an active role in the evolution of the new relationship.”

Jamaica is a core member of the ACP Central Negotiating Group, which is charged with responsibility for the negotiations on behalf of the ACP Group of States.

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