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REVEALED! Why Uganda Deferred Signing OACPS – EU Agreement



As the Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) was poised for signing on Thursday in Samoa, Uganda took a surprising stance by deferring its signing.

According to a statement by Uganda’s Foreign Ministry, the decision, attributed to unresolved concerns and reservations, reflects Uganda’s commitment to scrutinizing critical elements within the agreement before commitment.

The Agreement, designed as a comprehensive framework for a two-decade engagement between the EU and OACPS, spans diverse realms encompassing investment, environmental sustainability, migration, and governance. Uganda acknowledges alignment on numerous fronts but underscores specific areas demanding deeper contemplation and consultation, predominantly centered on sensitive topics within the Agreement.

Of particular concern for Uganda are concepts like marginalized groups, gender equality, sexual and gender-based discrimination, vulnerable populations, and sexuality education. The nation is engaged in internal dialogues to reach a consensus on these nuanced aspects, emphasizing the necessity of clarity and coherence before formal endorsement.

One prominent bone of contention lies in the structural framework established by the Agreement, delineating regional councils and assemblies for African, Caribbean, and Pacific regions while maintaining the EU as a unified bloc. Uganda advocates for unity over separateness, expressing reservations about the potential disparities in bargaining capacities among these delineated regions.

Another pivotal issue is the Agreement’s hierarchical precedence over existing bilateral or regional pacts between individual EU states and OACPS members. Uganda fears subordination of established relations, calling attention to the intricate dynamics of international treaties, emphasizing the need for states’ free negotiation or accession to agreements.

Moreover, the authority vested in the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers to adopt binding decisions and recommendations raises concerns about alignment with Uganda’s constitutional processes. Ensuring the supremacy of the national constitution amidst international commitments becomes a paramount consideration.

Despite these concerns, Uganda reiterates its openness to future engagements, dialogues, and forums that strive to address the apprehensions expressed by nations like Uganda. The emphasis remains on constructive dialogue and resolution of contentious issues, signaling a nuanced approach toward international engagements that respects national interests and constitutional supremacy.

As Uganda undertakes rigorous internal consultations to reconcile these apprehensions, the decision to defer the signing underscores the nation’s commitment to comprehensive scrutiny and consensus-building, epitomizing a prudent approach toward international agreements of paramount significance.

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