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Uganda yet to sign Post Cotonou Agreement, says Minister as Deputy Speaker cites areas of contention

The EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states formally kicked off negotiations for a new partnership agreement in the margins of the September 2018 UN General Assembly.

By Our Reporter

Parliament: The Post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries has not been signed by Uganda.

This revelation was made by the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr John Mulimba on Wednesday, while presenting a statement on the negotiation of the agreement.
“It has so far been initialed by the chief negotiators but not by any representative of the Government of Uganda,” said Mulimba.

The Minister said Uganda’s interests in the negotiation of international agreements is handled by ambassadors plenipotentiary, who are entrusted with representation in their respective areas of accreditation.

He added that he has emphasised the imperative of seeking authority in regard to conclusion of any treaty that would bind Uganda, since the process requires Parliamentary approval.
“I have put mechanisms in place to remind heads of missions to desist from the conclusion of binding commitments evidenced in international treaties without referring the matter to my ministry for consultation, evaluation and consent,” Mulimba said.

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa tasked the minister to give the same update to Uganda’s ambassadors.
“They took it that since your chief negotiator initialed the agreement, it is a done deal. They are saying it is only Hungary which is delaying their process,” Tayebwa said.

He cited points of contention in the agreement relating to definitions of human rights to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
“They said that in that clause, they cover issues to do with LGBT and if you want to cooperate with the European Union you must agree to this. This is a matter I want you [minister] to take keen interest in,” Tayebwa said.

He also asked the Minister to take the concerns raised before the President.
“Even the delegates from other African countries who came here shared this with him and he was shocked.  We must ensure that we do not sign any document that binds us in terms of such issues,” Tayebwa added.

On Thursday, 06 April 2023, the Deputy Speaker directed the Minister for Foreign Affairs to give a statement on the Post-Cotonou Agreement, which could have sections that are inconsistent with Uganda’s laws.

He said the President directed that no international agreements should be signed without his clearance.

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