BRUSSELS, Sept 23, CMC – The St. Lucian-born diplomat, Dr. Len Ishmael has been appointed to chair the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Committee of Ambassadors.
Ishmael, who jointly represents St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, will serve “one of the most active decision-making organs of the ACP Group” for the period August1 to January 31 next year
In her inaugural speech in her new position on Thursday, Ishmael, who serves as the ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, outlined three “challenges” she plans to prioritise during her term as Chair
“The next 12 months will be defining ones in many ways and on multiple fronts as we seek to elaborate our thinking with respect of the future of our relations with Europe, and the future of the ACP – both in terms of the integrity of the group as a singly internally cohesive actor, and as a player on the global stage,” she told the Committee.
She drew attention to the key task for the Committee of Ambassadors in the coming months, which is to finalise a plan for the implementation of the report of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on the future of the ACP Group.
The report, which was submitted by the Chairman of the EPG, former Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, to the eighth Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government in May 2016, includes key recommendations for reforms to the organisation in the effort to enhance its role as a global player.
“Such a plan must be put before our Ministerial Council for their review in November,” she said.
Negotiations for a follow up partnership agreement between the ACP Group and the European Union is scheduled to start no later than August 2018.
Ambassador Ishmael, also chairs the Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors, which coordinates the work of the main body, and includes one Ambassador from each of the six ACP region