Friday, 20 September 2019 03:02 GMT
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OECS council of ministers navigate geopolitical landscape




(MENAFN - Caribbean News Now) CASTRIES, Saint Lucia \u2014 OECS ministers of foreign affairs concluded a successful fifth meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (COMFA) on May 12, 2019. The meeting was held in St George's, Grenada under the chairmanship of that country\u2019s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Peter David and involved ministerial representation by all members of the council except one which was represented at the level of ambassador\/commissioner.\n

The meeting addressed a number of issues of critical concern to the OECS and its member states, including (inter alia):\n

    \n
  • Key developments in the international arena;\n
  • Negotiations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) and the European Union (EU) on a new relationship to come into effect in 2020;\n
  • The financial blacklisting of OECS member states (and others) by the EU as \u201cnon-cooperative tax jurisdictions;\u201d\n
  • The progressive enlargement of the OECS;\n
  • Strategic joint diplomatic and commercial engagement in specified jurisdictions; and\n
  • OECS climate action within the ambit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and beyond.\n\n

    In welcoming participants to the meeting, Ambassador Anthony Severin, the commission\u2019s head of international relations, noted that the international geopolitical environment had become increasingly intense and complex and that it had continued to engage the full attention of members of the Council.\n id=\"mNCC\" language=\"javascript\">medianet_width='468';medianet_height= '60';medianet_crid='637422217'; id=\"mNSC\" src=\"http:\/\/contextual.media.net\/nmedianet.js?cid=8CUVV6306\" language=\"javascript\"> \n\n

    He noted further that "Developments in the hemisphere, in Latin America and particularly in Venezuela had served to severely test the region\u2019s capacity to satisfy a key treaty objective of the OECS, namely foreign policy coordination and harmonization."\n

    He opined that the capacity for foreign policy coordination and harmonization went to the heart of the region\u2019s integration effort and that notwithstanding the sovereign character of our individual member states, it is a capacity which we must strive continuously to strengthen if we are to navigate the profoundly complex, geopolitical landscape successfully.\n

    The Commission\u2019s head of international relations reminded delegates that \u201cAs practitioners in the field of international relations and diplomacy we have a responsibility to foster engagement \u2013 to develop and promote structured approaches to engagement among ourselves and with the rest of the world; we have a responsibility, notwithstanding our small size, to encourage, to promote and to champion multilateralism over unilateral action and international law over the extraterritorial application of domestic law.\u201d\n

    He saw these responsibilities as deriving from \u201ca proud and shared history that teaches us that we too have a contribution to make to global civilisation and that this contribution is not only valid but both rich and profound.\u201d\n

    Representing the outgoing chair, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Ambassador Felix Gregoire noted that the work of the Ministerial Council was critical to achieving the mandates of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre and expressed satisfaction with the achievements of the OECS in the area of international relations, particularly in the establishment of a resident diplomatic presence in Africa; and in the continued enlargement of the organisation\u2019s membership, with the recent accession of Guadeloupe to associate membership of the organisation and the transition of St Martin from observer status to associate membership in the coming months.\n

    The incoming chair of the Council, Peter David considered the full and high-level participation of member states at the fifth meeting of the Council to be an expression of the \u201cindividual and collective commitment to integration and cooperation for the betterment of our peoples.\u201d\n

    He opined that the Council has ushered \u201ca new era of bilateral and regional cooperation in Caribbean relations\u201d through its work and saw it as providing \u201cpowerful impetus for building a stronger OECS community.\u201d\n

    The incoming chair expressed the expectation that "The deliberain particular, climate change and better access to climate finance, the development of renewable energy sources, agriculture and food security, the promotion of science and technology and the enhancement of air and sea connectivity. He urged the Council to work to strengthen the OECS and to \u201cmake (its) voice heard in the international domain.\u201d\n

    The fifth meeting of COMFA reaffirmed its commitment to remain engaged on the major issues of concern to the organisation and its member states at the global, hemispheric and regional levels and to work toward their resolution in the interest of the region.

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OECS council of ministers navigate geopolitical landscape

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