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OPENING REMARKS BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF SAMOA, AND CHAIR OF THE PACP LEADERS MEETING

PACIFIC ACP (PACP) LEADERS MEETING
Harbour View Room 1, Sheraton Aggie Grey's Hotel
Apia, Samoa
Tuesday 5 September 2017
OPENING REMARKS BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF SAMOA, AND
CHAIR OF THE PACP LEADERS MEETING.
Honourable Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

  • Honourable Leaders
  • CROP Executives
  • Distinguished representatives
  • Members of the media
  1. It is an honour and privilege to Chair this year's PACP Leaders Meeting. I extend my appreciation to the President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), H.E Peter M. Christian, for his able leadership during FSM's tenure as Chair of the Pacific ACP Leaders Meeting.
     
  2. I have been briefed by the Chair of the PACP Officials Meeting on their discussions during their Meeting held at the Forum Secretariat on the 7th of August. I would like to recognise the work of our respective Officials and Forum Secretariat, and their efforts to progress various initiatives since we last met.
     
  3. I also acknowledge the work of the ACP Secretariat and the PACP Ambassadors based in Europe for their ongoing efforts in ensuring that important issues of significance to our region are advanced.
     
  4. The ACP Secretariat's efforts to ensure an inclusive approach with respect to the post-Cotonou negotiations with the European Union, and also their efforts in supporting the needs and priorities of small and vulnerable States' are of crucial importance for our region.
     
  5. Substantial efforts remain and are needed on both fronts, from our regional organisations in ensuring that our efforts are prioritised and coordinated, and that the political will and solidarity of PACPS remains strong. It is important that we are active and involved in discussions relating to our relationship with the ACP Group and with the European Union, particularly given these uncertain times that we find ourselves in.
     
  6. In New Caledonia, many of us met with the EU High-Level representative, H.E. Pascal Lamy through bilaterals as well as the collective consultations with PACP representatives wherein we were advised that the EU Parliament will discuss the negotiating directive in November 2017 before the roll-out of the negotiating process with the ACP Grouping.
     
  7. In May 2017, the ACP Council of Ministers mandated the ACP Ambassadors to constitute and determine the negotiating structure for the ACP Group. PACP Foreign Ministers took the opportunity of being together in Suva for the 2nd Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting to hold an informal caucus on 11 August, to specifically discuss post-Cotonou arrangements and the approach the Pacific region would take in the ACP Group negotiating structure.
     
  8. Excellencies, the negotiations for a post-Cotonou arrangement will need to commence no later than August 2018.
     
  9. As the Secretary General has mentioned, the broader political issues relating to the Pacific region's relations with the EU and the ACP Group needs our consideration. On Wednesday, 6 September, the European Union has invited the Pacific ACP Leaders for an informal discussion on the post-Cotonou partnerships arrangements.
     
  10. I call on the PACP States for their active participation in these important discussions with the EU, to ensure that, as the Blue Pacific we are able to voice our priorities and challenges in areas such as climate change, renewable energy and sustainable development, including the management and conservation of our Ocean and its resources.
     
  11. To this end, PACP Leaders must consider a proposed resolution that supports the process going forward – ensuring that our own vision, objectives and priorities as articulated through the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, fundamentally guides the European Union's relations with the Pacific region in the post-2020 era.
     
  12. Excellencies, I trust that we will discuss and decide on the issues before us in the true spirit of regional cooperation, collaboration and consideration what is best and possible for the collective good.
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