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Fiji, Pacific-ACP Stand In Solidarity

Fiji and Pacific ACP-member countries have reaffirmed their solidarity to continue the engagement in the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. This unanimous decision was made during the
18 Jul 2015 11:42
Fiji, Pacific-ACP  Stand In Solidarity
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Fiji and Pacific ACP-member countries have reaffirmed their solidarity to continue the engagement in the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

This unanimous decision was made during the two-day meeting of Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers, which ended yesterday at the Suvavou House in Suva.

Acting Prime Minister and Acting Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said members were now looking forward to negotiating at a political level.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was addressing Pacific ministers, Cabinet ministers, officials and the media.

It also recognised that there were some outstanding issues that were prolonged for nearly more than 10 years, he said.

“We’ve been negotiating and many of them have been prolonged and we wish to put on the table, as far as the EU is concerned that we want to bring this issue ahead,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“And we have made a number of recommendations to our leaders. Our leaders are going to meet in September from the respective countries and a number of recommendations have been made to them in terms of the way forward.

“Overall in principle, the ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment and efforts to maintain very sound fisheries and management conservation of the fisheries resources.

“And to combat Illegal and Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing that takes place.”

While efforts are ongoing, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it required co-operation between all the parties including the distant-water fishing nations.

The meeting also highlighted the fact that the Interim EPA in its current form was not the preferable option.

“We look forward to negotiating at a political level now in negotiations with the European Union,” the A-G said.

The EU had earlier indicated it would defer negotiations on EPA for three years because of issues dealing with the fisheries sector, which many Pacific island countries are dependent on.

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