Local News

St. Kitts PM co-chairs Caribbean leaders meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

BASSETERRE, ST. Kitts – Caribbean leaders attending the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations in New York met with United States Secretary of State, Hon. Condoleezza Rice at her invitation on the margins of the Assembly’s General Debate.

The Meeting on Thursday 25th September at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel was co-chaired by the Secretary of State and St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Denzil L Douglas, in the absence of CARICOM Chairman and Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Baldwin Hon. Baldwin Spencer, whose schedule for addressing the General Assembly conflicted with the CARICOM/US high level meeting. Mr. Spencer joined the meeting later.

The talks revolved primarily around issuer of trade, development and security and were an opportunity, the Secretary of State said, to strengthen the platform of cooperation between the USA and CARICOM.

The issue of security in its multi-dimensional framework took center stage as there are many burning and unresolved issues in this arena that continue to bedevil all other aspects and avenues of relationship between CARICOM and the USA. Not least among these is the need to establish mutually acceptable mechanisms and protocols in dealing with the deportee issue.

Prime Minister Douglas reflected for the Secretary of State the thinking and feeling among CARICOM’s political directorate and peoples that the level of cooperative engagement with the USA in some critical areas, needed to be strengthened.

Secretary Rice received the concerns and reiterated the commitment of the United States to maintain and strengthen the cooperative partnership.

The talks were against the backdrop of the CARICOM/US Summit in Washington DC in June 2007 as well as in anticipation of the Summit of the Americas which will be convened in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2009.

The talks yielded an agreement in principle to create a framework for mid-level ongoing dialogue between CARICOM and the United States which would allow for the working through of the many challenges which have to be addressed between the two border partners.

Prime Minister Douglas in his closing remarks welcomed the opportunity for the very frank exchange and encouraged both parties to lose no time in establishing the new proposed mid-level framework for engagement.

Secretary of State Rice, whose official functions as the Chief Diplomat of The United States of America comes to an end in January 2009, also expressed pleasure with the tenor and outcome of the meeting.

The President of Haiti and Prime Ministers of Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda along with the Foreign Ministers of Belize, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Guyana and the Bahamas. (CUOPM)

Related Articles

Back to top button