ACP Parliamentary Assembly on Burundi, EPA trade agreements
Suva, Fiji, 17 June 2015/ ACP: Members of Parliament from 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have jointly called for measures that would allow for peaceful and fair elections to be held in Burundi, following protests and political unrest which erupted in the country in April, spurred by disputes related to the presidential elections.
In a declaration released on 17 June, the ACP Parliamentary Assembly condemned all acts of violence committed against civilians in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws, calling on all parties to protect human rights, while holding accountable those responsible for violating these rights.
The ACP Parliamentary Assembly emphasised that there can be no military solution to the situation in Burundi, but a political one which upholds the requirements of Constitutionalism and the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, to preserve peace and security. The Assembly firmly aligned itself with the position of the African Union on the situation in Burundi, taken at the end of the Summit of the African Union Heads of State and Governments from 7 to 15 June 2015, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Economic Partnership Agreements
The ACP Parliamentary Assembly also adopted a resolution on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between ACP regions and the European Union, reiterating its call for more flexibility on the EU side in negotiating contentious issues with the three remaining regions which have yet to sign a comprehensive EPA with the EU.
The Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), Central Africa and the Pacific regions have not signed, although some countries have individually agreed to interim agreements while awaiting the conclusion of the full regional EPAs.
Pacific ACP countries have further asserted that, in its current form, the interim EPA (already signed by the larger economies in the region, namely Papua New Guinea and Fiji) is not suitable for most Pacific States due to the fact that as Smaller Island States they do not have the capacity to derive benefits from it.
Members of the Assembly expressed concern over the European Commission’s approach towards Pacific fisheries, whereby market access to the EU is conditioned upon reciprocal access to Pacific fisheries resources, alongside demands for certain changes to be made to fisheries conservation and management in the region.
The ACP Parliamentary Assembly called upon the European Trade Commissioner to convene meetings with regions that are yet to conclude full EPAs, and in the case of the Pacific region, to work together in the spirit of goodwill and partnership to conclude a development-friendly comprehensive EPA by 31 December 2015.
(Photo: President-in-Office of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly Hon. Fitz Jackson of Jamaica.)
For more information, contact ACP Press Attache Ms. Josephine Latu-Sanft, +32 2 743 0617 or email@example.com