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Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith confirmed that Jamaica today (Tuesday, July 31), closed its Presidency of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. She expressed satisfaction that the tenure had been a successful one, having set the stage for the commencement of negotiations between the Group and the European Union, on a post-Cotonou agreement beyond 2020.

The recent exchange of negotiating mandates signalled compliance with Article 95 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement which requires parties to enter into negotiations eighteen months prior to the expiry of the Agreement.

She noted: “I am truly pleased at this achievement given the hard work which has been undertaken by both parties to the Cotonou Agreement. I am confident that this has placed us on a good footing to move towards the next phase.”

Minister Johnson Smith stated, that “It was a great honour to serve as President of Council and to have been excellently supported by Ambassador Sheila Sealy Monteith as Chairman of the Committee of Ambassadors, teams from the Jamaican Foreign Ministry and the Jamaican Embassy in Brussels, together with the Secretariat of the ACP, the Ambassadors and her Counterparts of members of the ACP.”

“Together, we led the ACP Group through one of its most active periods, among the most significant achievements of course being the adoption of the ACP Negotiating Mandate at the 107th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers held in Lomè, Togo in May this year, and over which I presided.”Minister Johnson Smith added, “I was also pleased that during the period Prime Minister Holness had the opportunity to address the ACP Committee of Ambassadors and that I was able to extend Jamaica’s outreach to a number of the Member States of the ACP, particularly those in Africa, which helped to solidify the All-ACP approach to the imminent negotiations. It was a challenging Presidency and there will undoubtedly be challenges ahead, but Jamaica looks forward to continuing its active participation in the negotiating process.”