Friday, 6 February 2009 11:11 AM

Solomons Takes Over ACP Presidency

Solomon Islands has re-claimed the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group Presidency since it last held office in 1989.

The Presidency of the ACP Group is a rotating position held by one of the six ACP regions every six months.

It was the turn of the Pacific bloc, and Solomon Islands was chosen as the representative of the region.

Solomon Islands' Ambassador to the European Union and United Kingdom, HE Joseph Maáhanua, took over the leadership role on Friday in Brussels from Burkina Faso of West Africa, urging his colleagues to continue with the usual spirit of cooperation in the Group, given the enormous tasks ahead.

"I'm counting on the support of everyone as we have a huge timetable ahead of us," Mr .Maáhanua said in his brief welcome address.

The continues negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union remains one of the major issues which will dominate Solomon Islands six-month Presidency of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group.

The EPA negotiation is one of the primary activities of the ACP-EU relations, and of the six regions in the ACP Group, only the Caribbean has signed a full EPA with the EU.

Another important issue due for consideration under Honiara's Presidency is the revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the ACP Group and the EU. Adopted in 2000, the Agreement is reviewed every five years.

As one of his key responsibilities, Mr. Maáhanua will chair the Committee of Ambassadors which consists of the 79 member states of the Group. The Committee meets twice a month to discuss, take decisions and prepare meetings of the higher organs of the ACP Group.

The Council of Ministers is the Group´s main decision-making body. It is the supreme body responsible for implementing the guidelines laid down by the ACP Leaders Summit.

The Committee of Ambassadors acts on behalf of the Council of Ministers between ministerial sessions.

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Presidency also means that the ACP Council of Ministers will now be presided over by a minister from Honiara.


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