Brussels, 10 December 2013/ ACP: Malian Head of State, H.E Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was welcomed as an old friend at the ACP House, where he addressed Ambassadors and officials on the rebuilding process in his home country, as well as insights on ACP-EU relations and the future of the ACP Group.
“Today, our priority remains national reconciliation,” President Keïta said on Monday, in the lead up to the ACP Council of Ministers meeting.
Mali suffered profound political unrest and security issues for more than a year since early 2012. The President acknowledged the support from the international community, which not only in raised EUR 3.25 billion of pledges in May 2013, but also launched United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in April.
President Keïta named bad governance and corruption as contributors to the country’s spiral into violence. He called for continued backing in the “implacable fight against corruption” in Mali and vowed “no impunity” for offenders.
The President also commended the solidarity amongst members of the ACP Group.
“Our countries are facing so many challenges and have many needs, so it is good that you remain united, fraternal, cohesive and engaged in the same vision,” he told Ambassadors.
He said the increasing pressure on the European Union to “divert resources to the East, rather than the South”, is a critical area for dialogue with European partners, in particular when debating the future of ACP-EU relations after the current partnership pact runs out in 2020.
“The financial outlook of the European Union for 2014-2020 remains a concern,” he added.
The President said that despite an increase in the 11th cycle of the European Development Fund (EDF) dedicated to ACP countries, there were still questions about the European Commission’s Agenda for Change policy proposal for aid, especially on the issue of differentiation. President Keita urged that all EDF-related policies “be compatible with the spirit of [the ACP-EU Cotonou partnership agreement]”.
On the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which ACP regions have been negotiating with the EU for about a decade, the President reminded delegates: “You have to redouble your efforts to ensure that agreements that come out of the negotiations reflect the objectives of the ACP Group in promoting development and regional integration.”
President Keïta renewed his commitment to the goals of the ACP Group, highlighting his personal attachment to the ACP House, where he celebrated his wedding to wife Ami, a former staff member, more than 30 years ago.
– ACP Press