Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

Egypt Wants Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala To Be Disqualified From WTO Top Job

Just a day after Buhari nominated Okonjo-Iweala for the World Trade Organization post, Egypt has requested that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination to contest for the office of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) be cancelled and null.

Egypt stated member states of the African Union (AU) were required to nominate candidates for the director-general position since November 30, 2019.

In a letter to the candidature committee on Friday, the permanent mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the AU said the Office of Legal Consent were of the opinion that Nigeria’s nomination of a new candidate “is not in conformity with the executive council decision”.

The Egyptian mission also urged the ministerial committee on candidatures to officially inform the African Group in Geneva Switzerland that Abdulhameed Mamdouh of Egypt and Eloi Laourou of the Republic of Benin are currently the “only two endorsed African candidates”.

The Letter reads

“During the ambassadorial level ministerial committee on candidatures meeting which was held on June 4, 2020, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) gave its legal opinion regarding Nigeria’s nomination of a new candidate to the post of WTO-DG, in which the OLC clearly highlighted that – from a legal point of view- such a nomination is not in conformity with the executive council decision EX.CL/Dec. I 090(XXXVI), since the council’s decision, had specifically endorsed the three names of candidates as submitted by the ministerial committee’s report after thoroughly examining the qualifications and professional experience of each of the three above mentioned candidates,”

Egypt believes that the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala by Buhari contradicts an executive council decision no. EX1072 of July 2019, which requested member states to nominate candidates to the position of director-general of the World Trade Organisation by November 30, 2019.

“The conformity of Nigeria’s new nomination as presented in its note verbal with the rules of procedure of the ministerial committee, specifically rule 11, para (1), (2), (3), (4);

“If the new nomination – in the event it is submitted officially to the WTO in Geneva- could constitute a failure to comply with the decision of the executive council and be subject to sanction for non-compliance as mentioned in Rule I 6 of the rules of procedure of the ministerial committee.”

The mission also said it has started consultations with the Republic of Benin “with the aim of reaching a consensus on one African candidate between the only two currently endorsed African candidates and will communicate the outcomes of these consultations to the esteemed ministerial committee at the soonest possible date”.

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