President David Granger: Honourable Joseph Harmon, Minister of State performing the functions of Minister of Foreign Affairs; Honourable Roxane George Wilshire, Chief Justice; His Excellency Mr. Jernej Videtič and Mrs. Videtič; Members of the National Assembly; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; distinguished invitees; members of the media; ladies and gentlemen.
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana is honoured to join the continents of the world in celebrating Europe Day. Europe Day symbolises the promotion of peace through economic cooperation and integration. Guyana iterates its commitment to the rule of law, respect for human rights, good governance and democracy; the same values which cement the European Union. Guyana iterates also its commitment to the long-term partnership between the African, Caribbean and Pacific group and the European Union.
As you heard a few minutes ago, Georgetown, our capital city was the site for the signing of the Georgetown Agreement on the 6th of June, 1975. That Agreement marked the conception of the African Caribbean Pacific Group of States which has long enjoyed long-standing partnership with the European Union commencing with the first Lomé Conventions of 1975.
The Lomé Conventions principally, were concerned with trade and aid. The Cotonou Agreement, the successor to the Lomé Conventions broadened the scope of this partnership to encompass development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation and political dialogue. The Cotonou Agreement comes to an end in 2020. Guyana therefore looks forward to a new covenant. We support a single legally binding successor agreement that will open a new chapter in economic relations between the ACP and the EU.
Guyana feels that that new covenant should aim at enabling the transformation of ACP economies through investments in industries, infrastructure and information and communications technology. It should aim also at expanding market access for ACP products and services and it should aim at ensuring environmental security, particularly for the ACP’s small island developing and low lying coastal states such as Guyana.
Excellencies, Guyana in this regard expresses its appreciation to the European Union for its support, for its climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and improved coastal zone management under the 11th European Development Fund. Guyana remains committed to future cooperation with the European Union. Guyana extends congratulations on the occasion of Europe Day.
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to join in a toast to the friendship between the ACP countries and the European Union and to the partnership between the European Union and the other continents of the earth.
I thank you.