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Prime Minister of Togo addresses the ACP Committee of Ambassadors

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ACP PRESS RELEASE: 2 March 2011 — The Prime Minister of Togo, Hon Gilbert Houngbo, has become the second ACP leader to address the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Committee of Ambassadors in less than a month.
Just two weeks ago, the President of Sierra Leone, H.E Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, addressed the Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels.
In welcoming Prime Minister Houngbo, Secretary-General Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said that the ACP Committee of Ambassadors was honoured to receive him describing him as a statesman who has devoted a substantial part of his career to promoting the cause of development.
Dr. Chambas expressed how impressed he was with the Prime Minister’s unfailing commitment to economic and social development and on the improvement of the welfare of the Togolese people.
Prime Minister Houngbo outlined the economic, political and social changes that his country intends to undertake.
He reiterated the government plans to strengthen what has been achieved on the democratic front and focus considerable efforts on consolidating the structured sectors of its economy.
On the ACP, Mr. Houngbo said the ACP Group has a unique characteristic of bringing together the largest number of developing countries in the world in a cooperation context – with the European Union.
He, however, cautioned that the ACP-EU partnership is now at the crossroad and has reached a decisive step. He called on the ACP Group to take account of the new ambitions of its partner, the EU, as expressed through the Lisbon Treaty.
The Prime Minister suggested that the ACP takes on board its own aspirations and to open up to other important actors of the international community while maintaining what it has achieved with the EU.
Based on that, Mr. Hongbo commended the setting up of the Working Group on the Future Perspectives of the ACP Group, which he believed would reflect on and propose necessary reforms in order to preserve and enhance the specificity and the originality of the Group.
He said that the Group must find the right position through frank and open exchanges with its members in order for it to be expanded and capable of conveying the development aspirations of its people.
The Chairman of the Committee of Ambassadors, H. E. Ambassador Usman Alhaji Baraya of Nigeria, drew attention to the fact that Togo, and in particular, its historic capital of Lomé, has a unique position in the annals of EU-ACP development cooperation.
The first Lomé Convention was signed in February 1975. The name “Lomé” has become synonymous with the unique paradigm of North-South cooperation based on dialogue, interdependence, legality and mutually shared obligations.
Ambassador Baraya said that it is also gratifying to note that Togo has made good progress in several key areas of national policy.
Prime Minister Hongbo had the opportunity to meet with the Ambassadors before he left the ACP House.

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