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Forum strengthens UK-Caribbean relationship

LONDON, England – Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and co-chair of the Sixth UK-Caribbean Forum the Honourable Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda told the closing ceremony of the Forum that he felt certain that what had been discussed over the past two days would serve to enhance the already strong relationship between the two sides.

The two-day meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the CARICOM and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary ended at Lancaster House, London, England on Wednesday July, 16 with both sides expressing satisfaction at the outcome.

Prime Minister Spencer said the meeting had been conducted in a very cordial and friendly atmosphere “even if we have agreed to disagree on some issues.”

“It is that same spirit that has pervaded our relations and which we expect to be continued as we move forward to implement those matters on which there has been agreement,” he added.

The Communiqué issued after the meeting set out the areas in which the partnership between the two parties would be strengthened including climate change, youth development, education and training and security.

The UK agreed to fund capacity building initiatives in the Caribbean to facilitate a better understanding by policy-makers for climate change issues, and confirmed its commitment to supporting the development of a CARICOM Strategy on Climate Change and an economic impact review, and assisting the Region with its preparation for international negotiations on future global climate change frameworks and national development planning.

The Foreign Ministers also agreed on the need to reform international institutions and emphasised that these institutions that were shaped in 1945 were no longer relevant in their current forms and were unanimous in their resolve that the development of small states must not be adversely affected by any reform.

During the two day meeting, the CARICOM Foreign Ministers also held discussions with British Prime Minister, the Honourable Gordon Brown and held a Parliamentary Forum in the House of Lords in which they exchanged views on a number of topical issues with UK parliamentarians.

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