Addis Ababa, 26 May 2018

I would like to begin by thanking you for responding to our invitation to participate in these critically important consultations.

I am particularly grateful for the presence of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Congo.

I also wish to commend the Chairperson of the Commission and his staff for the excellent preparatory work they have undertaken in collaboration with Policy Organs and institutions of the African Union.

Today’s meetings represent a turning point in the process of implementing the Reform and Financing Decisions. As decided at the Summit in January, continuous consultation, communication, and fine-tuning are necessary and beneficial.

The Group of Fifteen Foreign Ministers is the advisory body that will accompany the Assembly and the Commission in this task. So I want to thank you for treating this with importance, as it should be.

Similarly, the fundamental task of defining the division of labour between the Commission and the Regional Economic Communities must be based on solid analysis and clear consensus.

There are no obstacles that are going to be insurmountable because we have to keep going forward for the future of our continent. That is why we thought it useful to invite both groups to spend this day together in deliberation and exchange.

With support and engagement at every level, the ultimate success of the reform is assured, with all the benefits we know Africa will gain as a result. My intention is therefore that this meeting be an open exchange of views, as to how we can continue moving forward.

I wish, once again, to thank you for being here. I hope that everyone had a very happy Africa Day yesterday. By the way, that Africa Day, I think, is the spirit that guides us, but it is also a day that reminds us that we have a very important task before us to conduct.

And now, if I may, I would like to invite President Sassou Nguesso to say a few words to us.

Thank you for your kind attention.