Pacific leaders hopeful

Pacific-African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) leaders are hoping relations with the European Union (EU) will continue to grow stronger with the negotiations for a post-Cotonou agreement.

Yesterday, Pacific leaders, EU delegates, representatives from around the region, development and donor partners, gathered at the Taumeasina Island Resort for the Pacific ACP-EU high level political dialogue on the post-Cotonou agreement.

Leaders had the opportunity to exchange their views on issues of priority and concern to the Pacific region in the presence of EU Commissioner, Neven Mimica, on how to maintain and strengthen further EU-Pacific relations post 2020.

“Whilst the focus on implementation and trade is seen as a logical extension of evolving common interests between our two groups, now is an opportune moment to take stock, reveal and seriously explore how Pacific-EU relations might be progressed and elevated to the next level,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

“It is of critical importance for both parties therefore as we enter the second phase of the ACP-EU negotiations for a post-2020 treaty, that we be guided by the principles and values, totally agreeing to in the foundation agreement on how to broaden and keep it Pacific-EU relations.”

Nauru’s President, Baron Divavesi Waqa, said EU-Pacific relations has been an evolving partnership, underpinned by common areas of strategic interest including development cooperation, climate change, ocean management, regional fisheries etc.

“At the forefront of our minds, the principles, the objectives of the framework of Pacific regionalism wherein Pacific leaders want to see a future for the Blue Pacific that is determined by its people, we want development to be more effective, more sustainable and resilient and importantly to deliver more for our people,” Mr. Waqa said.

“The high-level dialogue gives a platform to articulate the Pacific priorities that we would want to see in any regional protocol for PACPS in the post-Cotonou framework.”

“We therefore call on the EU, and other development partners to align their support with these strategies and requisite regional governance, and financing arrangements to implement them.”

The ACP-EU partnership is a 20-year agreement that was signed in Cotonou in 2000. Negotiations have already begun on a post-Cotonou agreement.

Source: Samoa Observer News

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