BASSETERRE, St. Kitts & Nevis: One of this country’s top female diplomats has called for solidarity among African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in light of an “unstable” state of affairs worldwide.
Newly appointed Chair of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels, Ambassador Shirley Skerritt-Andrew, who represents the Eastern Caribbean States of the Commonwealth, was at the time making her maiden speech to the ACP delegates in Brussels.
Skerritt-Andrew, who began her six-month term as Chair of the Committee of Ambassadors on February 1, said that historic ties and shared values link the ACP to the European Union.
“(These) are the foundation of our partnership (and) are increasingly being tested, and new strategies deployed by the EU seem to confirm this trend.
“The global scene does seem ominous.”
She said she noted a decline in foreign aid flows, concern over the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, the Doha impasse, delays in international climate change negotiations, problematic aid effectiveness as well as the ongoing effects of the global economic crisis.
“It is at this point that I believe that it is useful to remember that old African proverb that states, ‘When the music changes, so must the dance’.”
Skerritt-Andrew, a specialist on European affairs and a former senior advisor to the government of St. Kitts & Nevis, said the introduction of the Economic Partnership Agreements with Europe has divided the ACP Group along regional lines, and the Commission’s proposal to withdraw 18 ACP countries from the list of beneficiaries of trade preferences under Regulation 1528/2007 as of January 1, 2014, could also be seen as a threat to the stability of the group.