On 28th May, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Simeon Oyono Esono, appeared before the Senate Permanent Commission on Foreign Policy, International Cooperation and African Integration, overseen by Teresa Efua Asangono, to clarify specific doubts in relation to the various agreements and conventions signed by the Republic of Equatorial Guinea with other countries and international bodies.
They were dealing with the agreement on the creation of a Continental African free trade zone and the Kampala Convention on the protection and aid for displaced people in Africa, which over recent days have bee the focus of debates in the Foreign Policy Permanent Commission due to their complexity, and for which the commissioners saw the need to request the appearance of the minister to clarify specific doubts and concerns.
On asking him about the official translation in Spanish and the original copies of the African Union Convention on the Protection and Aid for Displaced Persons in Africa, and other presented documents, the minister said that it is impossible to obtain that version because Spanish has not yet been adopted as a working language of the African Union.
With respect to the control of armed groups covered in article 7 of the convention, the minister explained that this article does not grant or recognise a status for armed groups, taking into account that the Kampala Convention is the first international treaty for the protection and aid for displaced persons inside and outside their own countries that covers an entire continent, and imposes on States and armed groups the obligation to protect and aid persons displaced due to natural catastrophes or situations caused by man, such as armed conflicts.
The convention imposes numerous obligations in order to improve the protection of displaced persons, and now the challenge is to ensure that armed groups recognise these obligations.
The commissioners also asked whether the Government had a preventive plan for the reception of displaced persons. Simeon Oyono explained that the Government for the moment did not plan to accommodate displaced persons, and the senators recommended that a budget entry be created for these cases, and natural catastrophes or similar situations.
The senators, after analysing the agreement for the creation of the Continental African free trade zone , asked the minister for an explanation on the advantages of this agreement for our country, and also observed that of the 49 States that signed the agreement, only 10 have ratified it.
Oyono Esono clarified that all countries should ratify it before the next AU Summit, that is to take place in Niamey in July.
After hearing all the clarifications from the Government delegation, the commission agreed to set out various recommendations and submit to the plenary session the adoption of authorisation for ratification the leader for all the agreements and conventions presented.
Source: Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office