11TH AFRICA – EU MINISTERIAL TROIKA MEETING
11TH AFRICA – EU MINISTERIAL TROIKA MEETING
Addis Ababa, 20-21 November 2008 Within the framework of the Africa-EU Dialogue, the 11th Ministerial Meeting of the African and EU Troikas took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 20 to 21 November 2008. The meeting of Ministers was co-chaired by Hon. Mr. Bernard K. Membe, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania and current Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Executive Council, and H.E. Mr. Bernard Kouchner, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of France and current President of the Council of the European Union (EU).
The African Troika was also composed of H.E. Mr. John Aggrey, representing Hon. Akwasi Osei Adjei, Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD; H.E. Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs; and H.E. Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.
The EU Troika was also composed of Director-General Mr. Stefano Manservisi representing H.E. Mr. Louis Michel, EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States, H.E. Mrs. Helena Bambasova, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and H.E. Mr. Koen Vervaeke, EU Ambassador to the AU, representing the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The Ministerial Troika meeting welcomed the presence of Ministers of Defense on 21 November. Ministers of Defense were represented on the African side by Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi, Deputy Minister for Defense and National Service of the United Republic of Tanzania, and on the EU side by H.E. Mr. Jean-Marie Bockel, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defense of France, and by H.E. Mrs. Helena Bambasova, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. In their presence the meeting examined the peace and security partnership of the Lisbon Action Plan and had an exchange of views on security at sea and on the fight against piracy.
1. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE JOINT STRATEGY/FIRST ACTION PLAN
- a) Consideration of the Joint Experts Group (JEG) Report on the eight
partnerships (Projects, activities, financing, implementation timeframe) Ministers welcomed the progress report on the implementation of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy and its first Action Plan (2008-2010). They underlined that the full implementation of the ambitious and far-reaching Strategic Partnership is a long-term project and that progress is achieved only step by step. In this light Ministers commended the Joint Experts Groups for the work done so far and called on all parties to expedite efforts with a view to attaining tangible results within the timeframe of the First Action Plan (2008-2010).
Ministers stressed the need for adequate financial resources to effectively implement the Joint Strategy/First Action Plan, and reiterated their request for efforts to be made by both sides to allocate the necessary funds in order to foster implementation. In this regard, they attached particular importance to the work to be done by the Joint Expert Groups in identifying the financing requirements, the sources of financing and the procedures for accessing these financial instruments.
Ministers welcomed efforts to strengthen the dialogue between the two sides and noted with satisfaction the College to College meeting of the AUC and European Commission held on 1 October 2008 in Brussels.
On each of the eight partnerships, Ministers particularly welcomed the achievements as reflected in the attached Joint Progress Report, notably:
- i. Africa-EU Partnership on Peace and Security
The training cycle for the African Stand-by Force, Amani Africa/Euro Recamp, has been launched, the new African Peace Facility for the period 2008-2010 with an amount of EUR 300 million has been agreed, and the first joint meeting of the EU Political and Security Committee and the AU Peace and Security Council has taken place in September 2008. Furthermore, the Joint Expert Group agreed to organise a seminar on the support of the EU to African training centers in the first trimester of 2009. Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation between the EU and the AU situation centres and to set up a Common Interactive Watch and Anticipation Mechanism.
ii. Africa-EU Partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights
The dialogue for cooperation in international fora and on global level has been enhanced and concrete proposals in this regard have been made; further progress towards the establishment of the platform on governance and human rights has been achieved, the dialogue on human rights has been strengthened. Progress is expected on the ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. Cooperation on elections observation will be deepened through support to the electoral assistance and observation fund; discussions on the possibility of participation of African election observers at the 2009 elections for the European Parliament is ongoing. In the area of cultural cooperation, an inventory of the main ongoing activities will be made. Joint initiatives to combat illicit trade of cultural goods will be undertaken.
iii. Africa-EU Partnership on Trade and Regional Integration
Progress has been made in the advancement of free trade areas and customs unions. Negotiations of full and comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) as an instrument to promote poverty reduction and sustainable development and the gradual integration of the African economies into the global economy are ongoing. The Infrastructure Trust Fund has so far received EUR 146 million and eight major projects have been approved. The Steering Committee of the Infrastructure Trust Fund has met for a second time and will set up the roadmap and the plan of action for all projects including the eight which are already approved.
iv. Africa-EU Partnership on the Millennium Development Goals
During 2008, Year of Action on the MDGs, a series of international events and initiatives have made important contributions to the achievement of the MDGs in Africa and worldwide. For example the European Council adopted the EU Agenda for Action which outlines milestones to be achieved by 2010 in order to attain the MDGs, including specific initiatives for Africa. The UN High Level Events in New York in September 2008 reaffirmed a collective commitment to achieving the MDGs globally with a specific focus on Africa and resulted in substantial commitments, including in the areas of food security, health and education. The Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in September 2008 made important steps towards coordination and harmonisation, which will be essential to achieving the MDGs. The work of the MDGs Partnership links coherently with the outcomes of these events and processes, in order to ensure harmony between the various MDGs focused initiatives. The Joint Experts Group will meet again in March 2009. Thematic sub groups on food security, health and education, will be followed by a meeting of the co-chairs and other partners to agree on a consolidated set of follow up actions.
v. Africa-EU Partnership on Energy
A Joint Statement on the Implementation of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership was signed by the two Commissions, which defines inter alia actions regarding improved energy access and services in Africa as well as energy security for both sides. Several energy projects have been or are about to be launched in 2008, financed by individual EU Member States as well as by the European Commission.
vi. Africa-EU Partnership on Climate Change
Progress has been made in setting up priorities for cooperation and in identifying deliverables and joint initiatives as contained in the Joint Progress report. Ministers took note of the progress made in the elaboration of a Joint Declaration to be submitted in time by Africa and the EU to the Poznan Conference on Climate Change on 3 December 2008. They mandated the Troika at ambassadorial level to meet in November 2008 in order to adopt the Joint Declaration taking into account the African position on climate change as adopted by the Conference of African Ministers of Environment in Algiers held on 20 November 2008.
vii. Africa-EU Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment
Efforts have been made to further structure the dialogue with African Diaspora; a Migration Information and Management Centre has been opened in Mali and other openings in other countries are in the pipeline; discussions on the migration fund and on the establishment of the African remittances institute are ongoing. Experts will meet for the first time on 26 November 2008 in Brussels to make progress in the various priority actions of the Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment taking into account the dialogue and the decisions taken in the various high level fora.
viii. Africa-EU Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space
An agreement on the implementation of six early deliverable projects has been found which are included in the book of lighthouse projects, as well on the establishment of an Africa/EU high level platform for joint efforts in science, information society and space, including in the framework of the African-EU Science and Technology Dialogue Initiative. This dialogue will facilitate the creation of a specific common decision-making platform for joint efforts in Science, Information Society and Space.
b. Endorsement of the calendar of follow-up activities for the next six months and recommendations
Ministers considered and endorsed the joint progress report, including its recommendations. They called on all actors to ensure adequate follow-up with a view to achieving tangible results within the specified timeframes. In this connection, Ministers also welcomed the Joint Expert Group Guidelines and endorsed it as a living document to guide the Joint Experts Groups in their work. They urged the co-chairs of the respective Joint Expert Groups to maintain permanent contact and ensure adequate flow of information to all stakeholders by making effective use of modern ICT facilities at their disposal, including the recently launched Joint AUC-EC website (www.africa-eupartnership. org). The Joint Expert Groups were particularly urged to ensure broadest possible and effective participation of Member States and of the African Regional Economic Communities. They were also urged to take all necessary measures to reach out to stakeholders, including civil society, the Pan-African and European Parliaments, AU ECOSOCC, EU ECOSOC, private sector and international partners. Ministers reiterated the need to speed up the implementation process before the mid-term review in 2009.
2. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS SINCE THE 10TH MINISTERIAL TROIKA MEETING
- A. Update on current issues
Democratic Republic of Congo
Ministers welcomed the Joint Communiqué of the Heads of State of the Great Lakes Region on the DRC, resulting from the Summit held in Nairobi on 7 November 2008.
They welcomed the missions by H.E. Olusegun Obassanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, UNSG Special Envoy, and H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, appointed by the Great Lakes Summit.
They strongly condemned the continuation of fighting in North Kivu, in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), following the offensive of Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP). They are deeply concerned about the very grave humanitarian and security situation, which affects hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, and which has also a regional impact. They also call on all conflict parties to respect the international humanitarian law, in particular to end abusive attacks against women and children.
They reiterated their support to the institutions resulting from the 2006 elections, as well as the Nairobi and Goma processes.
In this regard, Ministers requested the Government of the DRC to continue with the implementation of the disarmament of illegal armed groups in the East of the DRC, notably the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR). They urged the countries of the region to continue to support the peace process in the DRC and speed up the implementation of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region, which was signed in Nairobi, on 15 December 2006 and entered into force on 21 June 2008.
Ministers welcomed the efforts of the UNSG to reinforce MONUC, in particular by reinforcing its equipment and staffing, and to focus its action in the Kivus, helping MONUC to implement the provisions of Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Ministers commended the efforts of the AU, including the visit of the Chairperson of the Commission H.E. Mr. Jean Ping to the DRC in October 2008, the visit of the Commissioner for Peace and Security to the region in November 2008, and that of the Envoy of the Chairperson of the Commission to the DRC. They commended the visit of the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs H.E. Mr. Bernard Kouchner in his capacity as President of the EU Council, together with Hon. Mr. David Milliband, Foreign and Commonwealth Minister of the UK, the visit of H.E. Commissioner Louis Michel, as well as the efforts of other international stakeholders, namely SADC and the United Nations. They urged the CNDP to resume its place within the National Programme for the Security, Peace, Stability and Reconstruction of the Kivus (AMANI Programme).
Ministers paid tribute to the humanitarian organizations for the remarkable work they are accomplishing on the ground to assist the civilian population in general and displaced persons in particular. They expressed their willingness to increase their support to these organisations.
Ministers welcomed the signing, in Djibouti on 26 October 2008, of an Agreement on the Modalities for the Implementation of the Cessation of Armed Confrontation between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS). They commended the TFG and the ARS for this further step in the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement of 19 August 2008, and urged them to scrupulously comply with their commitments and to form as soon as possible a Unity Government.
Ministers strongly deplored the humanitarian situation in Somalia and underlined the urgency to find a lasting political solution for Somalia. They called upon all parties to respect the human rights in Somalia and particularly underlined the vulnerability of women and children in that respect.
Ministers condemned terrorist actions in Somalia and the recent attacks on AMISOM troops. They also condemned war methods causing the death of civilians. Ministers further welcomed the Declaration adopted by the 13th Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 29 October 2008. They deplored, however, the further aggravation of the situation in spite of this Declaration, and welcomed in this light of the 18 November 2008 IGAD communiqué with the view to speeding up the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement.
The EU congratulated the AU for the work of AMISOM and confirmed that it will continue its financial and technical support to this stabilisation force. Ministers once again called on AU Member States to contribute additional troops to AMISOM to enable it reach its authorized strength, and appealed to the international community to provide the necessary financial and logistical support to AMISOM.
The AU and EU await with interest the details of the UNSG plan for the establishment of a multinational stabilisation force which could reinforce AMISOM. Ministers further noted with concern that the aggravation of the instability in Somalia favored the increasing occurrence of acts of piracy in Somali waters and the Gulf of Aden and called on the international community to promote pragmatic solutions to the problem and, particularly to support measures to ensure effective prosecution and provision of correctional facilities.
In this context, the African side congratulated the EU for the establishment of a coordination cell EU NAVCO, mandated to coordinate the fight against piracy along the Somali coast, and for the adoption by the EU Council on 10 November 2008 of a Joint Action launching the operation ATALANTA due to be operational in December 2008 which will significantly increase existing capabilities.
Ministers reiterated their support to the efforts of the UNSGSR for Somalia, H.E. Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, to advance the political process in the country.
Sudan and Chad
Ministers reviewed evolutions since their last meeting and welcomed the recent developments in the relations between Chad and the Sudan, marked by the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries. They paid tribute to the countries that facilitated this positive development. They urged the leaders of the two countries to consolidate the progress thus made in order to promote, in a spirit of appeasement, relations of cooperation, good neighbourliness and friendship within the framework of the different agreements they have concluded, including the Dakar Agreement.
Ministers expressed satisfaction at the initiatives taken by the AU Commission in implementation of the decision of the AU Peace and Security Council of 29 June 2008, notably the sending of a high-level delegation led by H.E. Pierre Buyoya, former President of the Republic of Burundi, in order to contribute to the restoration of confidence and the normalization of relations between the two countries.
Ministers stated that they were convinced that the normalisation of relations between the Sudan and Chad would contribute to efforts aimed at promoting peace, security and stability in Darfur.
Ministers welcomed the progress achieved in the implementation of the CPA between North and South Sudan, notably in the Abyei region.
Despite the initiatives to re-launch the Darfur peace process, particularly the initiative of Qatar supported by the AU and the EU, Ministers noted an extremely worrying increase of violence in Darfur. Security conditions for the population and for the humanitarian organisations deteriorated heavily. Ministers urged all parties to cooperate with the joint mediator of the AU and the UN, Djibril Bassolé, without any preconditions.
Ministers encouraged the Sudanese authorities to continue to implement the commitments made at the tripartite meeting with the AU and UN to ensure rapid deployment and effective functioning of UNAMID.
Ministers reaffirmed that peace and justice are two necessary components in the search for a lasting solution. To this end, the fight against impunity as well as the promotion of reconciliation and healing, should be priority for the Sudanese government. The African side reiterated the AU position on this issue, including the call on the UNSC to defer the application by the ICC prosecutor, as contained in the communiqué adopted by the PSC in Addis Ababa on 21 July 2008. The EU recalled that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent judicial institution and plays a fundamental role in the promotion of justice, and reiterated its call on the Sudanese government to cooperate with the ICC.
Ministers considered that the announcement by the Sudanese government of a cease-fire in Darfur a step in the right direction. They urged the parties to respect this cease-fire and asked for an effective mechanism for its control. They also urged the parties to do everything to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid to the populations and the displaced persons. They favorably welcomed the results of the Initiative of the Sudanese People (ISP) and invited the Sudanese Government to take these results into account. They also called on all parties to the conflict to stop without delay the repeated human rights violations including sexual violence against women and abuse of children.
On Chad, Ministers noted with satisfaction the continuation of the political dialogue in the framework of the Political Agreement of 13 August 2007 and supported this effort to consolidate democracy. They expressed their concern at the continuation of the humanitarian crises in the east of Chad and north-east of the Central African Republic.
In this context Ministers underlined the importance to complete deployment of the United Nations Mission in Chad and CAR (MINURCAT) and welcomed the contribution of the EU mission (EUFOR) for the stabilisation of this region. They noted with satisfaction the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1834 of 24 September 2008 which renewed the mandate of MINURCAT and foresees the deployment of a UN force to replace EUFOR.
Ministers noted with concern that the Zimbabwean parties have not yet succeeded in forming a Government of National Unity, as called for by the Agreement of 15 September 2008, they signed in Harare, Zimbabwe.
In this regard, Ministers took note of the call made by the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in Sandton, South Africa, on 9 November 2008, which, inter alia, called for the formation, forthwith, of an inclusive Government in Zimbabwe. In this context Ministers expressed their deep concern about the current stalemate in the creation of an inclusive government with the agreement of all parties necessary to undertake economic and social reforms so urgently expected by the people.
The EU and Africa expressed their wish that the Republic of South Africa and SADC mediation succeeds and called on the guarantors of the global political agreement to ensure the rapid and credible implementation of this agreement.
Ministers reiterated their strong condemnation of the coup d’état which took place in Mauritania on 6 August 2008, as well as their determination to spare no effort towards the rapid restoration of constitutional order.
In this regard, Ministers welcomed the outcome of the Consultative Meeting on the Situation in Mauritania held on 10 November 2008 in Addis Ababa, at the initiative of the Chairperson of the Commission. They stressed that any solution to the crisis resulting from the coup d’état should be based on the following key elements: the unconditional release of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi; his participation in the resolution of the crisis in his capacity as the democratically elected President; the involvement of all stakeholders, and the respect of the Mauritanian Constitution and the international commitments of Mauritania.
Ministers urged the Junta to present solutions within the one month time limit in the framework of the consultations of Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. They agreed that the AU and the EU, in close collaboration with the other partners, will review the situation in light of the Mauritanian proposals to be submitted, and of the consultative meeting to be held on 21 November 2008, called for by the AU. This would be the unique occasion to demonstrate the Junta’s active participation in constructing a way out of the crisis, thus avoiding sanctions imposed by the EU.
The EU reiterated its attachment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. The EU reaffirmed its condemnation of Russia’s decision to recognize the independence of South-Ossetia and Abkhazia. The EU welcomed the progress which has been made within the foreseen timeframe in the implementation of the agreements of 12 August 2008 and 8 September 2008, and particularly noted the holding of international discussions stipulated in point 6 of the agreement of 12 August which started in Geneva on 15 October 2008 and continued on 18 November 2008. The African side took note with interest and encouraged Georgia and Russia to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
B. The Financial Crisis
Ministers discussed the current financial crisis and its impact on the global economy in general, and on the economies of Africa and the EU in particular. They noted with concern that the crisis is likely to have serious negative impacts on global demand, export earnings, access to finance, foreign direct investment flows, migrant remittances and ODA flows. They noted that these developments are likely to worsen the macroeconomic fundamentals of African economies; exacerbate the impact of the recent food price crisis, and reverse the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
Ministers agreed that international financial stability is a Global Public Good which requires a more efficient, coherent and adequately regulated international financial system. In this regard, they welcomed the various high level summits held in various parts of the world to mitigate the potential impact of the crisis, including the recent Meeting of African Ministers of Finance and Planning and Governors of Central Banks, held in Tunis on 12 November 2008, and the high level meeting held by the EU.
While regretting inadequate African representation in the recent G20 meeting in Washington, Ministers welcomed the outcome Declaration document of the Summit which calls for a comprehensive reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions and reaffirms the development assistance commitments made and the importance of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Ministers called for a better African representation in international efforts and fora to ensure that the interests and needs of African countries are duly taken into account.
Ministers therefore welcomed globally coordinated efforts to review the financial and monetary international architecture and global economic governance. The Bretton Woods Institutions should strengthen their analysis, prevention and support methods for developing countries affected by the international financial crises, while involving more closely economic and financial regional institutions.
They recalled one of the key objectives of the Joint Strategy to jointly promote and sustain a system of effective multilateralism and to address global challenges and common concerns.
Ministers emphasised that the financial crisis must not undermine the global development agenda, notably the implementation of commitments made in Gleneagles and within the Monterrey consensus, as well as those related to the achievement of the MDGs. Ministers called on development partners, including the EU, despite the global financial crisis to meet their ODA commitments which continue to be one of the most important resources for the financing of the development of African countries. Ministers encouraged African governments to continue implementing macroeconomic policies and structural reforms geared towards growth and poverty reduction, while protecting the most vulnerable, also during the current difficult circumstances. In this respect Ministers stressed the importance of jointly addressing these issues in the context of the forthcoming Doha international conference on development financing and of the next G-20 meeting in April 2009.
C. The Principle of Universal Jurisdiction
Ministers discussed and underlined the necessity to fight impunity in the framework of the international law to ensure that individuals who commit grave offences such as war crimes and crimes against humanity are brought to justice. The African side stated that there are abusive applications of the principle which could endanger international law and expressed concerns over it. The EU took note of the African concern notably as expressed at the AU summit in Sharm el Sheik. The two parties recognised that the issue has negative consequences for the relationship between the EU and the African side. Ministers agreed to continue discussions on the issue and to set up a technical ad hoc expert group to clarify the respective understanding on the African and EU side on the principle of universal jurisdiction, and to report to the next Ministerial Troika meeting, with a preliminary report to be submitted before the end of January 2009.
3. DATE AND VENUE OF THE 12TH MINISTERIAL TROIKA MEETING
Ministers agreed to hold the 12th Ministerial Meeting of the African and EU Troikas on 28 April 2009 in Luxembourg. Hon. Mr. Bernard K. Membe Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Mr. Bernard Kouchner Minister for Foreign and European Affairs For the African side For the EU side
Source: COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION