Meeting with Minister Dussey on African CSOs participation in ACP-EU negotiations – Lome (TOGO)

A delegation of African Civil Society Organization (CSOs), led by the Permanent Secretary of the West African Observatory on Migrations, Mr. Samir ABI, was received this Tuesday, July 30, 2019 in Lomé (Togo) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad, Professor Robert Dussey. The delegation was mandated by the African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to exchange with Minister Dussey as Chief Negotiator of the Africa Caribbean Pacific Group (ACP) on the ACP-European Union Post-Cotonou Agreement. The meeting took place in the presence of Mr Safiou RADJI, African Union Expert on Migration and Diaspora, responsible for technical support to the ACP group on the migration aspect of the Post-Cotonou Agreement.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Permanent Secretary of the West African Observatory on Migrations briefed the Minister on the recent advocacy mission conducted by a group of actors from African CSOs in Brussels. The mission in mid-July enabled African and European CSOs to meet with officials from the European Union External Action Service (EEAS), the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the European Union Commission (DG DEVCO), the Directorate-General for Trade of the European Union Commission (DG Trade), African Ambassadors in Brussels and the Secretariat of the ACP Group. Following this mission the African CSOs expressed the wish to take an active part alongside the representatives of the African States in the negotiation process of the Africa-European Union pillar of the agreement to replace the Cotonou Agreement. A letter was sent by African CSOs to Minister Dussey asking for his good offices.

Minister Dussey expressed his satisfaction that African civil society is mobilizing on the negotiations of the Post-Cotonou Agreement. He stressed that this approach of the African CSOs comes at the right time because the negotiations on the Africa-European Union pillar of the Post-Cotonou Agreement should start in the coming weeks. Faithful to the principles set out in the Cotonou Agreement on the participation of civil society, the Minister said he was open to all the contributions that African CSOs would like to make to fuel the negotiations. He said he was willing in this sense to provide space for the African civil society to consult in Lomé in the second half of October to exchange and adopt a position paper that can be used by representatives of African states in negotiations.

Mr Samir ABI, on behalf of the delegation, thanked the Minister for the great openness he has shown to African civil society and undertook to report on the follow-up of the meeting to African CSOs so that the meeting of October in Lomé is most fruitful.

Done at Lomé on July 30, 2019

On behalf of the African Civil Society Delegation

Samir ABI

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