Delegates Endorse Action Plan For Lisbon Summit
Delegates at the just-ended 9th Africa-EU Troika Ministerial Meeting yesterday endorsed a communiquÃ© for a Joint Strategy and Action Plan for consideration and adoption by Heads of States and Governments for the Lisbon Summit in December.
The Ministers also approved the joint Africa-EU Strategy and the first action plan to serve as the basis for a new and innovative partnership between Africa and the European Union. A statement approved by the Ministers underscored the importance of the action plan which sets out the priority areas for implementation.
The meeting, which was co-chaired by Mr Akwasi Osei Agyei, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mr Luis Amado, Portuguese Foreign Minister and Representative of the European Presidency welcomed the briefing on the preparations for the Lisbon summit agenda and format for the meeting as well as the content of the declaration.
The joint strategy covers areas such as peace and security, governance and human rights, regional integration and trade, key development issues and matters of common concern.
The Ministers also welcomed the fact that all existing initiatives and partnerships which had their own action plans would continue to be implemented without any disruption.
The statements welcomed the proposals on the implementation and monitoring of the Action Plan which involves a variety of critical institutions and civil society stakeholders.
The communiquÃ© strongly condemned all attacks against the Africa Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), personnel in Darfur and underlined the vital importance of continued support for the mission until the full transition to the AU-UN hybrid operation is accomplished.
The Ministers deplored the precarious prevailing security, humanitarian and human rights situation. They further condemned the ceasefire violations by all parties and in particular the violence directed against civilians.
The statement expressed concerns over the delays in the electoral process and in particular, the identification process in Cote d'Ivoire and urged the transitional government to accelerate the implementation of the Ouagadougou agreement.
The Ministers reiterated that democratic governance is the integral part of Africa's and EU's common challenges at global level as well as for their political and people centred partnership.
They emphasised the need to build capacity in the AU Commission, AU Member States and democratic institutions in order to entrench governance and human rights in all public and corporate systems.
Both parties noted that progress had been made in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations by the regional ministerial meetings during the course of the year with the purpose of arriving at a mutually satisfactory conclusion within the agreed time-frame.
The Ministers however noted that the December deadline for the completion of a comprehensive EPA would not be achievable in all regions and called on negotiation parties to urgently seek for alternatives that would guard against disruption of trade between the two parties.