The Council finalised preparations for the upcoming Ministerial meeting in Geneva, where the intention is to sign a Joint Declaration on Cooperation with Pakistan aimed at strengthening cooperation and enhancing economic relations between the two sides.
The Council appointed Mr Helge Skaara as Deputy Secretary-General in Brussels. He will take up his duties on 1 January 2013. Mr Georges Baur of Liechtenstein, already appointed as Assistant Secretary-General in Brussels, will start on 1 December 2012. Mr Skaara and Mr Baur are both veterans of European affairs, having been deputy heads of their countries’ missions in Brussels.
The Council reviewed the latest round of free trade negotiations with Central American States (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama), held in Geneva from 29 October to 2 November 2012. Significant progress was made in all areas covered by the draft free trade agreement ahead of what is planned to be the final round in December 2012 in Guatemala City. A second round of negotiations with Vietnam was held from 16 to 19 October 2012 in Geneva. Further understanding was gained on the approaches proposed by the two sides, and a detailed programme of follow-up work was agreed upon before the next round planned in early 2013.
The next Council meeting will take place on 4 December 2012.
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