Samoa welcomes new E.U. ambassador, future relations

Samoa has welcomed a new Ambassador-designate from the European Union (E.U.), Sujiro Seam at a time when it is playing a pivotal role in updating relations with the European Union. 

Mr. Seam presented his credentials to Samoa’s Head of State, Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, at his residence in Vailele on Thursday.

Tuimaleali’ifano also accepted the Letter of Recall for Mr. Seam’s predecessor, Julian Wilson.

The Samoan Head of State acknowledged the kind and ready assistance of the E.U. during the latest measles epidemic, through the operations of the World Health Organisation, and the provision of on-the-ground medical assistance from the Norwegian Emergency Medical Team.

“They are working around the clock with our Health officials to contain and deal with the fatal impacts of the measles epidemic and ensuring that everyone receives their vaccinations,” he said.

“Over the years, Samoa has continued to play an active role in negotiating the future framework for partnership between the E.U. and the countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (A.C.P.) for the upcoming post-Cotonou agreement. "

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement is a framework for relations between 79 A.C.P. member states (including Samoa but excluding Cuba) and E.U. member states. The aim of updating it is to bring it into alignment with the United Nations' Goals for Sustainable development. 

“During the A.C.P. Council of Minister at its 109th session held in Brussels on May 2019, it was announced that Samoa will be hosting the signing ceremony for the [new] A.C.P.-E.U. Treaty in 2020," Mr. Seam said. 

He also added that it has been 44 years since Samoa enjoyed cooperation with the E.U. with the signing of the Lomé Convention in 1975 recognizing the E.U. as a key development partner.

“The E.U. has provided immense assistance in key development sectors of our economy with Samoa’s accession to the Economic Partnership Agreement (E.P.A.) with the EU in December 2018," he said. 

“In such, we look forward to business, economic and trade benefits under the E.P.A. 

“Water and sanitation remains as one of Samoa’s priority in basic living needs as it reduces poverty and eliminate health deficiencies. Samoa appreciates the EU assistance in agriculture, disaster risk reduction, and gender based violence, public finance management, waste management, marine protection and fisheries. These complement our aspirations in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.”

Tuimaleali’ifano said that the presence of Mr. Seam speaks volume of the importance of E.U.-Samoa relations.

“I am certain that your time as Ambassador will yield more opportunities in furthering this partnership and strengthen our preparations for the upcoming Post-Cotonou arrangements for 2020.”

The E.U. ambassador said that E.U. is keen to strengthen further its partnership with Samoa and develop its cooperation in areas of common interest.

“I would like to convey the condolences and support of the EU for the outbreak of the measles that the state of Samoa has to face,” he said

“I’m happy to see that the EU civil protection mechanism was activated to allow us to support the medical teams from France and Norway.

“I would like to salute the role of Samoa in the negotiation of the framework for the cooperation between EU and the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific.

“Indeed Samoa as well is the negotiator for the Pacific region and co-hosting last February a very successful regional consultation leading to the definition of the three priorities for the Pacific.”

He also relayed his determination to strengthen the partnership between the E.U. and Samoa.

Mr. Seam is a career diplomat with France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and until his appointment as the Head of the EU Pacific Delegation based in Suva was France's Ambassador to Fiji. 

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