PNG Ambassador to EU appointed Chairman of Committee of Ambassadors of ACP Group
9 February, 2019, 10:07 am
BRUSSELS, 09 FEBRUARY 2019 (POST COURIER) – PNG has again made history as the country’s Ambassador to Belgium and EU with Joshua Kalinoe being appointed Chairman of Committee of Ambassadors of the 79-member ACP Group.
And by extension, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Rimbink Pato will assume the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers at a period where the Post Cotonou ACP-EU partnership Agreement that is being negotiated now and will be reviewed and approved for signing. The review and final approval is likely to happen in the douncil’s meeting in December this year under Pato’s chairmanship.
Kalinoe was appointed to the top post to chair three high powered ACP decision making organs, and in preparation to assume the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ambassadors (COA) in August 2019.
In an interview Kalinoe told the Post-Courier that from August 2019 to January 2020, PNG will head the Committee of Ambassadors and the council of ministers as well as the leader’s summit which is expected to change hands towards the end of this year. The committee of ambassadors is the third highest decision-making body in the ACP, behind the Council of Ministers and the Leader’s Summit.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is the current sitting chairman of the summit. He will hand over the chairmanship to another head of state and government when the summit meets later this year.
PNG has been playing an active role in the decision-making process of the ACP Group and the EU-ACP relationship since the hoisting of the leader’s summit in Port Moresby in 2016 under the chairmanship of PM O’Neill.
The Port Moresby Declaration and the Waigani Communique that transpired from the Port Moresby Leader’s Summit, among other policy outcomes, provided the basis for the ACP Group’s negotiation with EU and to reshape the ACP as an important player on international affairs, including at the United Nations, WTO and other international organisations.
PNG is one of the three lead negotiators of the ACP negotiation team in both the ministerial and ambassadorial central negotiation group (CNG), represented by Richard Maru and Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe, in the current Post Cotonou negotiations.
They are also lead negotiators for the Pacific Regional negotiations, representing the Pacific region, together with Ministerial and Ambassadorial representatives from Samoa.
Both the EU and ACP have agreed to enter into a new cooperation agreement when the current Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe was endorsed for appointment as the incoming chair of the COA by the Pacific ACP Ambassadors in Brussels, based on seniority and rotation. Eligible Ambassadors from member countries of the six ACP regions are appointed to the post after a six-year rotation cycle to their respective regions.
Ambassador Kalinoe said PNG may have made history by being accorded the responsibility of chairmanship in the three highest organs of the ACP decision making process in a given period.
“At least in the past five years, there was no country, in my recollection, that have been accorded the privilege to chair these three important organs of the ACP Group, in the same rotation period,” Ambassador Kalinoe said.
He said he is happy that the efforts by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the PNG Embassy in Brussels to create visibility and participation in respect of meeting Papua New Guinea’s international obligations consistent with the broader European engagement strategy and work programme that he has put in place since 2014 with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs is being successfully implemented.
“Visibility, success and active participation in meeting Papua New Guinea’s international obligations and national interests in trade, investment and bilateral relations with the EU and ACP member states and UN implementation agencies based in Europe is being done despite the financial and human resource constraints facing the Department of Foreign Affairs and its implementation organs, including the PNG Embassy in Brussels,” Ambassador Kalinoe said.