Statement by Chair of the General Council
At the General Council meeting in October, I reported that a third round of consultations was taking place to ascertain Members’ views with respect to the two potential hosts for the Conference — Turkey and Kenya.
A total of 94 delegations came forward to consult with me or express their views, either in person, or by phone, or through note verbales. Let me add that my understanding is that those delegations that did not express a view are neutral and I have ascertained that this is the case.
On Wednesday last week, I circulated — at the request of Turkey — a communication to all Members, in which the Government of Turkey informed the membership — after relevant consultations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Kenya — of Turkey’s decision to withdraw its offer to host MC10 in favour of Kenya. This communication was also circulated as WT/GC/166 in the three WTO languages.
You will recall that, following Turkey’s communication, I convened an Informal General Council meeting at the level of Heads of Delegation last Friday, 5 December.
Allow me at this point, in my capacity as General Council Chairman and in my personal capacity, to express my deepest gratitude to the Government of Turkey for its offer, and to the entire Delegation of Turkey for its dignified engagement during the whole process and for its constructive spirit throughout. The organization is very much in your debt. I would also like to pay tribute in particular to Ambassador Haluk Ilicak for his personal commitment to the smooth conduct of this process, and for his endless support to the organization as a whole.
As I noted at the Informal HODs meeting last Friday, the offer of the other potential candidate, Kenya, has been favourably received by the membership as a whole since the beginning of the process. Kenya has indeed proved to be attracting consensus throughout my consultations, and it is therefore in that spirit of consensus that I believe that the General Council is now in a position to take a decision on this matter.
Regarding the date of the Conference, during my consultations, several delegations stressed the importance to avoid any overlap with the UNFCCC Conference that will be held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015. As a result, and also in light of my consultations, it appears that the most suitable date for MC10 is the period from 15 to 18 December 2015.
Therefore, unless there is any objection, I would like to propose that the General Council formally agrees that the Tenth Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 18 December 2015.
[The General Council so agrees.]
Thank you. Let me warmly thank and congratulate Minister Amina Mohamed and the Government of Kenya for their successful offer. I would also like to express my appreciation to Amb John OTACHI KAKONGE for his personal contribution to the efficient conduct of the process. And I would like to thank most sincerely the whole Membership for participating in this important endeavour with a very constructive spirit.
Kenya’s offer is a clear sign of its commitment towards this organization. As the host of the MC10, I am sure Kenya can count on the support of the whole membership in working together towards a successful Ministerial Conference.
With these words, I would now like to invite Minister Amina Mohamed to address the General Council