Visit of Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, President-in-Office of the OACPS Summit to Brussels, June 20-23, 2021

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Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, Preisdent–in-Office of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), is currently on a three-day presidential mission to Brussels, site of the OACPS Secretariat, commencing on June 20. President Kenyatta met with the OACPS Secretary General, HE Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, and the OACPS Committee of Ambassadors on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.

Indications are that President Kenyatta, as OACPS President-in-Office, and Secretary General Chikoti’s discussions focused on the organizational restructuring underway at the OACP Secretariat, the role of the OACPS on the international scene, the implementation of the new OACPS-EU post-Cotonou agreement, which was initialed last April, as well as initiatives taken by the OACPS to ensure Member States’ access to COVID-19 vaccines.

President Kenyatta, in his remarks to the media, informed that he intended to convene a follow-up Summit to address COVID-19, access to vaccines and economic recovery. In June 2020, President Kenyatta convened the first Extraordinary Intersessional Summit of Heads of State and Government of the OACPS, on the theme “Transcending the COVID-19 pandemic: Building resilience through global solidarity”, to assess the global situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to identify opportunities for global solidarity and action.

The President spoke to actions taken since then to address COVID-19, access to vaccines being an important and continuing issue. For the future, the OACPS needs to be able to produce its own vaccines.

Regarding the updated EU List of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purpose, he expressed his concern about the unilateral decisions taken by the EU despite efforts at consultations. He also informed that an OACPS seminar on black-listing is to be convened soon. The OACPS media was urged to participate.

President Kenyatta also called on the OACPS to participate in the Global Partnership for Education aimed at raising more funds to support children whose education have been disrupted by COVID-19. A High-Level Summit will be co-hosted by the UK and Kenya in London, July 28-29.

He also called for the OACPS to continue supporting multilateralism informing that the Organization intended to submit resolutions at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) to be held in China in October, at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to be held in Scotland in November, and at the UN General Assembly in New York this September. He is of the view that the OACPS has to demonstrate that its value as an organization extends beyond Brussels.

Post-Cotonou Agreement

At the brief press conference, questions posed targeted the COVID-19 pandemic and access to vaccines, as well as matters related to the post-Cotonou Agreement. The President and Secretary-General were asked about the status of the ratification of the Post-Cotonou Agreement in light of Hungary’s objection to the Agreement. Secretary-General Chikoti responded that the OACPS did not see this as a problem as the Organization had negotiated the Agreement and had initialed it. The OACPS was ready to sign. It was for the EU to complete its process for ratification. He, however, stated that it was not expected that the Agreement would now be signed this year.

There was also a more technical question dealing with how the EU would be a party to the Agreement, whether as the European Union only or as the European Union and its Member States, considered a mixed approach. The response was that the OACPS preferred the mixed approach which enabled the partnership to be inclusive of the Commission and the individual Member States.

The OACPS wants to have a proper partnership with the EU based on consultations. There is concern about the lack of consultations as the EU continues to take unilateral decisions which impact OACPS Members.

President Kenyatta assumed the Presidency of the OACPS following his hosting of the 9th OACPS Summit of Heads of State and Government in Nairobi, in December 2019. His tenure as President of the Summit will end in 2022 when Angola is scheduled to host the next Summit.

Prepared by Elizabeth Morgan

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

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