The Pacific has reaffirmed its commitment
to the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and rallied its
support to the newly appointed Secretary General of the Group at a special
ceremony held this week in Brussels. 

This commitment was relayed by Fiji’s
Ambassador in Belgium and representative to the ACP at the special ceremony
held this week at the ACP Secretariat to mark the welcome of the new Secretary
General, Ambassador Georges Rebelo of Angola.

Speaking on behalf of the Pacific States
to the ACP as their Regional Coordinator in Belgium, Ambassador Deo Saran committed the Pacific’s support to
the new Secretary General in this role which looks after 79 countries from the
ACP region. In welcoming Ambassador Rebelo, the Fijian envoy highlighted the
importance of the ACP’s solidarity especially as it nears completing a
partnership agreement with the European Union. The new partnership agreement
sets out a comprehensive cooperation agreement between the ACP States and the
European Union in the areas of trade, socio economic development.

“In the next few weeks, you will oversee
the conclusion of what we in the Pacific consider to be the largest
negotiations between states, partners and actors. The ACP and our partnership
with the EU in the past has been pivotal in the development of our member
states and improving the wellbeing of our people in the Pacific.

“The new partnership agreement is an opportunity to
strengthen our development cooperation and help address global challenges. The
new agreement will demonstrate that multilateralism is here to stay as global
challenges will require global solutions.

“Excellency, we must recognise that the global order
has shifted and the priorities amongst states has been greater than ever. We
must therefore ensure that our negotiations with the EU focuses on present and
emerging challenges. Specifically, that means an even greater focus on
sustainable development, building resilient economies, increasing regional
trade and integration, and making development financing more accessible.”

As negotiations to this partnership
agreement draws to a close, Ambassador Saran reminded the ACP States on the
importance of solidarity amongst member States in finalising this agreement
which will be signed later this year in Samoa. Once the 20-year agreement comes
into effect, it will cover develop cooperation, political dialogue and trade
between more than 100 countries representing both the ACP and the EU.

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