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Botswana Minister underscores the importance of preserving the unity and cohesiveness of the ACP in the negotiations with the developed nations

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STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE VINCENT T. SERETSE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AND COOPERATION OF BOTSWANA, DURING THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE 107th ACP COUNCIL OF MINISTERS MEETING ON POST COTONOU, LOME, TOGO, 29 MAY 2018. 

- Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Jamaica and President of the ACP Council of Ministers; 
 
- Honourable Ministers; 
 
- H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes, Secretary-General of the ACP; 
 
- Ambassadors and Distinguished Delegates. 
 
It is my pleasure to be among you today during this critical 107th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers. We take note of the tremendous amount of collective thought and dedicated focus that has gone into the Draft Negotiating Mandate that is before us today for adoption. 
It reflects the journey we have travelled. We began with reflections on the future perspectives, the Sipopo Declaration, the Report of the Eminent Persons Group, the Port Moresby Summit, subsequent Council Decisions and the ACP We Want. In this regard, we wish to express our gratitude to the Committee of Ambassadors, the Central Negotiating Group and the Technical Negotiating Teams, as well as the Secretary-General and his team for the commendable work they have done. 
 
Madam President, we cannot stress enough the importance of preserving the unity and cohesiveness of the ACP in the negotiations with the developed nations. We wish to underscore the need to find meaningful compromise and workable solutions to the challenges that we may encounter. Ultimately, we all have a vested interest in the development of our countries, and therefore there should be no contradiction between and amongst ourselves as the countries of the South. 
 
The Government of Botswana fully supports work that has been achieved so far in preparation for the negotiations with the European Union. In doing so, we would wish to see a process unfolding that is inclusive, fair and equitable. It should incorporate the regional development agendas and the specificities of all the three regions – Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. 
Last but not least, it should take into account the views and concerns of regional and continental organisations, under the ACP framework. We should aim to improve that which has served us well, while identifying and constructively addressing challenges where they may exist. 
 
In short, we envisage the realization of a Post-Cotonou Agreement that is all-inclusive, that is representative of the needs and concerns of ACP Member States, and is legally binding to all of us and leaves none of us behind. 
 
Madam President, it is our common values and unity in purpose which have brought us this far, together as a single block, and will continue to lead and guide us into the Post-2020 era. 
My delegation therefore fully endorses the Draft Negotiating Mandate and recommends that this Session of Council move to adopt it. 
 
I thank you, Madame President.
 


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