Suriname announces it will not host ACP summit in November

Map of Suriname. 3d

PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Thursday August 21, 2014, CMC – Suriname says it will no longer host the summit of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries here in November.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Cabinet had reconsidered hosting the November 6-7 summit because the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country would still be chair of the Union of South American States (UNASUR).

Suriname was supposed to have relinquished the chairmanship of the bloc of South American countries to Uruguay during a meeting on August 22, but “Uruguay has requested (it be) postponed until October,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

It said that there were “some internal matters that should be taken care of first” and that the exact date for the handover could not yet be determined given the presidential elections to be held in Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said as a result, Suriname will remain UNASUR chair until at least October and that this brings with it “enormous responsibilities”

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It said the pressure the “ACP agenda” would create has prompted the government to re-consider hosting the summit.

The cancelation comes a week after Suriname said it was making all necessary preparations for the summit, including putting in place measures to prevent possible transmission of the deadly Ebola virus by visitors from West Africa.

More than 1,000 people have died from Ebola in West Africa in the most severe outbreak of the virus since it was first identified in 1976.

Delegates from West Africa were expected to attend the ACP summit that would have been preceded by the 100th session of the ACP Council of Ministers on November 3-4 and a meeting of foreign ministers on November 5.

No new venue has yet been announced for the summit where a new secretary general will be elected.