Govt clarifies Samoa Agreement U-turn

Ambassador Penda Naanda says minister of international relations and cooperation and deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah did not promise not to sign the controversial new partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), also known as the Samoa Agreement.

“The honourable deputy prime minister did not vow that Namibia would not sign the agreement, but indicated that Namibia would make sure its interests are addressed before committing to such an agreement,” he says.

Naanda says negotiations with the EU have proven fruitful.

“The statement delivered by the honourable deputy prime minister in parliament was very clear that if the EU considers our concerns, we would reconsider our position.

“We have since been engaging the EU to address our concerns to the extent that on the issue of wildlife they have agreed with our position, even going further to indicate that a mistake was made in the final version of the document on their side,” he says.

Details of the new structure of the agreement, including concessions and amendments have, however, not been shared.

“More details will be made available when the Cabinet is fully briefed on this matter,” Naanda says.

Political commentator Henning Melber on Wednesday said several nations’ refusal to sign was a chance to negotiate better tenets and clauses.

“Quite a number of countries refusing to sign the agreement was a kind of symbolic act of resistance. But it was also to some extent playing to the gallery,” he said.

The government’s decision to sign the agreement caught many by surprise, following Nandi-Ndaitwah’s announcement in the National Assembly.

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