ACP PRESS RELEASE: 17 February 2011 — The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone H.E Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma today addressed the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels.
President Koroma in his speech to the ACP Committee of Ambassadors expressed his country’s commitment to the Group and expressed his appreciation for the important role it plays.

He, however, noted concerns on the lack of progress in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) negotiations in most of the regions of the Group. He also expressed concern regarding the future of the ACP in the context of the evolving European institutional architecture under the Lisbon Treaty which came into force in December 2009.

On the future of the ACP Group, the President was pleased to learn that the ACP Committee of Ambassadors have established a working group to thoroughly discuss the future perspectives of the Group.
Secretary-General Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas on his part expressed his gratitude to President Koroma for addressing the Committee of Ambassadors and lauded the President’s role in consolidating democracy in Sierra Leone and promoting the ideals of peace and good governance in West Africa.

Acting Chairman of the Committee of Ambassadors and Ambassador of Guyana, H.E Mr. Patrick I. Gomes, said Sierra Leone is an important and much-valued member of the ACP family.
“Your country is a symbol of the new rebirth that is sweeping through the continent of Africa. Tempered by the scourge of war, tested and tried in the embers of a long and bitter conflict, the people of Sierra Leone have emerged triumphant and strong,” the top diplomat said in his statement.

Mr Gomes also noted that regional economic communities such as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have made enormous strides, opening up opportunities for regional trade and coordinated regional policy actions in such sectors as roads.
“Leaders like you, who have taken to heart the travails and sufferings of your people, give us hope that the candle of hope can never extinguished in Africa, in the Caribbean and indeed the Pacific.

“We also acknowledge that, in the challenging global environment in which we live, the ACP has to reassess its position vis-á-vis our traditional European partners. While seeking a firmer foundation for our enduring relationship, the Committee of Ambassadors has put together a working group to explore various scenarios for the future, including deepening South-South linkages and leveraging on the opportunities opened up the rise of China, India and Brazil,” he said.
Sierra Leone will be celebrating its Golden Jubilee anniversary in April 2011. The West African country will also be hosting the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly in November. Ambassador Gomes expressed the sentiments that they would count on the famed hospitality of the Sierra Leonean people: “We know that we can count on the traditional hospitality of your warm-hearted people. We look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead and we wish a fruitful tour of duty in Brussels.”

For further enquiries contact Press Attaché, Robert Iroga on