PM raises con­cern over se­ri­ous weak­ness high­lighted by re­port

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - MAIKA BOLATIKI Edited by Ne­mani De­laibatiki

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama says lead­ers should be con­cerned about the find­ings that there was a se­ri­ous weak­ness in the ACP (African Caribbean Pa­cific). He told the ACP lead­ers’ sum­mit in Port Moresby that this was due to “the fail­ure of most mem­ber states to make timely, reg­u­lar and sus­tained con­tri­bu­tions to the ACP bud­get.”

Mr Bain­i­marama said: “Fiji urges all mem­ber na­tions to ad­dress this as a mat­ter of ur­gency.” Fiji has en­dorsed the Em­i­nent Per­sons Group re­port on ACP. Mr Bain­i­marama said ACP’s weak­nesses, in­cluded a lack of ca­pac­ity to re­spond to the chal­lenges and es­pe­cially pol­icy changes in the Euro­pean Union (EU) and the global en­vi­ron­ment. Mean­while, the Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, in his talk­ing points on the re­port, said that Fiji fully en­dorsed the EPG rec­om­men­da­tion that the ACP group should con­tinue as an en­tity with greater em­pha­sis on the prin­ci­ples of unity, sol­i­dar­ity, com­ple­men­tar­ity and sub­sidiar­ity.

He said Fiji also sup­ported the rec­om­men­da­tion that the ex­pe­ri­ence and lessons learned over the 40 years of the group’s ex­is­tence should pro­vide guid­ance and a clearer vi­sion for the at­tain­ment of so­cial, politi­cal and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in an in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able man­ner for its peo­ples. Since the Cotonou Agree­ment was signed in 2000, he said both the EU and the ACP had seen sig­nif­i­cant changes in terms of its mem­ber­ship and politi­cal and eco­nomic land­scape also un­der­went fun­da­men­tal changes. Mov­ing for­ward, he said Fiji be­lieved that con­sid­er­a­tion should be given to en­large the ACP Group to in­clude all the Least De­vel­oped Coun­tries (LDCs), Small Is­land Devel­op­ing States (SIDS) and other devel­op­ing trad­ing blocks and re­gions.

This would strengthen its po­si­tion and pro­vide nec­es­sary lever­age to the group to play a greater role in the global arena.

He said Fiji fully sup­ported the EPG’s rec­om­men­da­tion that the group’s sol­i­dar­ity be guided by the com­mon­al­ity of in­ter­ests among its mem­bers. Mem­bers of the com­mit­tee in­cluded the for­mer Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs, Kaliopate Tavola, and the chair was the for­mer pres­i­dent of Nige­ria, Chief Obasanjo.

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