ACP COUNTRIES STILL WAITING FOR EUROPEAN UNION TO RATIFY AGREEMENT

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 16, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Members of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations (ACP) say they are still waiting for the European Union to ratify the Cotonou Agreement signed last year.

Pacific ACP countries met in Suva yesterday and stressed that an economic partnership agreement with the organization should reflect the development needs of the Pacific.

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the parties were given two years to ratify the agreement.

"As of now the required number of signatories has been met from the ACP side and we are still awaiting the European side to complete their obligation under the Cotonou Agreement," he said.

"The difficulty from the European side is that quite a lot of these things needed to be translated.

"It is hoped that all these requirements would be completed by next year -- where we will begin to have the agreement implemented," the Prime Minister said.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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