Brussels, 13 October 2015/ ACP: Newly appointed Ambassadors to the European Union from the Republics of Malawi and Sudan were received by fellow African, Caribbean and Pacific envoys, whereby they affirmed their strong support for the ongoing work to reinforce the 79-member ACP Group in the post-2015 and post-2020 era.
H.E. Dr. Mutrif Siddig Ali of Sudan and H.E. Mr. Tedson Aubrey Kalebe of Malawi addressed the ACP Committee of Ambassadors for the first time on 8 October and 17 September respectively.
Ambassador Siddig, who was previously posted in South Sudan and earlier held key positions such as Minister of State in charge of Peace and Security Advisory at the Office of the President of Sudan and Minister of State in charge of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, urged timely interventions by the ACP Group to be able to influence the future partnership between the EU and ACP countries. The current partnership framework is due to close in 2020. Both sides have embarked on serious reflections on what should follow, which has been the launch last week of public consultations on the issue by the European Commission.
Ambassador Sidding expressed support for continuing the ACP’s partnership with the EU, adding that a future framework should be more transparent, just, and without conditionalities and “isolation”. He also demanded more emphasis on South-South Cooperation within the ACP Group.
Finally, the ambassador updated the gathering on the challenges faced by his country since the 2011 split with South Sudan, as well as efforts towards improving relations with Europe. Currently, Sudan is not able to access funds under the 10th and 11th EDF, as it has not signed the revised ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement due to reservations.
In his address, Ambassador Kalebe, an economist who previously held the posts of Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Minister of Mines and Energy of Malawi, underlined the changing international context in the light of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change challenges, and global discourse on financing for development, all highlighted in recent conferences convened by the UN.
“This is an opportunity for the organisation (ACP Group) to undertake comprehensive reforms that will enable it to become more relevant to its members states and a more robust institution to the international scene. I pledge my country’s and my personal commitment in helping to ensure that we to successfully transform the organisation for the benefit of all the people in the six regions of the ACP,” he stated.
The ACP Group is currently undergoing a process towards reorienting the organisation to be more effective and relevant in the current global environment. This has been led by the Ambassadorial Working Group on Future Perspectives which submitted its final report to the Council of Ministers in December 2014, and the Eminent Persons Group which will report to the Summit of Heads of State and Government in May 2016.
Ambassador Kalebe also underscored role the ACP Group has played in helping member states in difficult political situations, negotiating development cooperation, and responding in the aftermath of severe natural disasters that have impacted ACP countries.
The Dean of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, H.E. Mr. Hanno Rumpf of Namibia conveyed warm words of welcome to the new members as well as the commitment of support and collaboration on behalf of the Group.
(Pictured from top: Amb. Tedson Kalebe of Malawi and Amb. Mutrif Ali of Sudan; Amb. Ali makes his inaugural address to the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, pictured with the ACP Secretary General; Amb. Kalebe before the Committee of Ambassadors)
– ACP Press