Brussels, 1 July 2017/ ACP: Newly appointed Heads of ACP Missions in Brussels were recently presented to the ACP Committee of Ambassadors as its newest members.

On Thursday 29 June, the new Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Mr. Joseph Sokoine delivered his inaugural address to the ambassadorial assembly.

As a career diplomat, Ambassador Sokoine was previously posted in Canada and Washington DC, and served as the Director of the Department of Europe and Americas before his appointment as Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union.

Speaking to his peers, Ambassador Sokoine re-emphasised the duty of the Committee to sustain and enhance the achievements made by the ACP Group since its inception, especially in terms of maintaining solidarity and unity amongst its members.

“The dynamics of the 21-century call for new ways on how we pursue our development agendas in the broader sense of the word… I commit myself to contribute on this noble duty as our organisation seeks to reposition itself as a global player,” he declared.

Previously, on 26 May, the Committee of Ambassadors also welcomed the new Ambassadors of Chad and Benin. Both underlined the importance of preparing for the post-2020 period, which would herald a new and revised partnership between ACP countries and the European Union.

The Ambassador of Chad H.E Mrs. Ammo Aziza Baroud, a former Minister of Health, Minister and Secretary of State for Economy and Planning and Adviser to the President, updated the gathering on current development and security challenges in Chad and the region, highlighting the need for the ACP Group to better equip itself to deal with such issues.

With the ACP Group’s post-2020 future at stake, she urged consolidated efforts towards building “the ACP we want”, while taking into account “geopolitical and geostrategic realities” that require a review of the ACP’s cooperation instruments, in order to deal more effectively with issues such as climate change and migration.

Meanwhile, the new Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, H.E Mr. Zacharie Richard Akplogan noted the critical period now facing the ACP-EU partnership and the ACP Group, in light of new development challenges to tackle.

A seasoned diplomat with expert knowledge on ACP issues, Ambassador Akplogan acknowledged the positive changes he has observed since serving in Brussels 15 years ago at the Benin Embassy. He assured the gathering that Benin will continue to play a constructive role within the ACP family.

In the absence of the Dean of the Committee of Ambassadors, the new envoys were warmly received on behalf of all ACP Member States by the Vice Deans H.E. Daniel Evina Abe’e of Cameroon (in the case of Tanzania) and H.E. Mr. Alfredo Lopes Cabral of Guinea Bissau (welcoming the representatives of Chad and Benin). The Secretary General also pledged the support of the Secretariat for the duration of their tours of duty.

Farewell to the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic

On 26 May, a farewell ceremony was also held for outgoing Ambassador of the Dominican Republic H.E. Mr. Alejandro César Augusto Gonzalez Pons, who completed eight years serving as Ambassador in Brussels.

The Chairman of the Committee of Ambassadors, Ambassador Teshome Toga Chanaka of Ethiopia described Ambassador Pons as “an eminent academic and a brilliant diplomat”, applauding his significant contribution to strengthening ACP solidarity in the face of many challenges.

Ambassador Pons acknowledged the important opportunity to learn from different parts of the world in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific over the previous eight years. Ambassador Pons supported organizational reforms and a “new foundation” for the ACP, adding that to achieve the Group’s objectives, political will and engagement is essential. He underscored the principle of solidarity and friendship that exists amongst ACP representatives in Brussels as one of the key lessons he gained during his tenure.

Ambassador Pons was presented with a gift from the Committee of Ambassadors in recognition of his contribution to implementing the objectives of the ACP Group.

– ACP Press