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PART 3: CARICOM Communiqué


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PART 3: CARICOM Communiqué

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The following communiqué was issued today on the conclusion of the Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.

Click here to read Part 1.

Click here to read Part 2.

Border Issues:

Belize-Guatemala Relations

Heads of Government received an update on the most recent developments between Belize and Guatemala.

Heads of Government noted that both Belize and Guatemala have now completed their internal procedures required for the Special Agreement to Submit Guatemala’s Claim to the International Court of Justice of 2008, including its related Protocol of 2015, to enable these Agreements to come into force and that the two countries have exchanged notes in this respect.

They expressed their hope that both countries can proceed with the required referendum as early as possible.

Heads of Government noted, with regret, that the undertaking by both countries and the Organisation of American States (OAS), to engage in the design and development of a mechanism of co-operation for the Sarstoon River, remains outstanding and urged both countries and the OAS to redouble their efforts in this respect.

Heads of Government expressed support for the continuous and critical role of the OAS in the process aimed at resolving the dispute arising from Guatemala’s claims on Belize and further called on the international community to continue supporting the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone.

Heads of Government emphasised their unflinching support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of Belize

Guyana-Venezuela Relations

Heads of Government received an update from the President of Guyana on the most recent developments on the controversy between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the particular efforts of former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki Moon, to find a way forward under the Geneva Agreement – as they had exhorted at their Meeting in July 2016.  They joined President Granger in acknowledging these efforts.

Heads of Government welcomed the decision taken by Mr. Ban Ki Moon before demitting Office and the resulting prospect of 2017 as a ‘final year’ of the ‘Good Offices Process’ of the Secretary-General, to be followed by a referral of the controversy to the International Court of Justice “if, by the end of 2017, the Secretary-General concludes that significant progress has not been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy”.

Heads of Government welcomed Guyana’s unqualified acceptance of the UN Secretary–General’s decision, and expressed the hope that its implementation in good faith by both parties will lead to the resolution of the controversy and the release of the parties and of the entire Caribbean Region from its unwanted implications.

Heads of Government also welcomed the proposal of Mr Ban Ki Moon for ‘confidence building measures’ and President Granger’s assurance of Guyana’s willingness to explore all possibilities consistent with Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  To the extent that any such measures require regional support, Heads of Government pledged their best efforts to that end.

Heads of Government reiterated their firm support for the preservation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

CARIFESTA

Heads of Government welcomed the comprehensive update on plans for CARIFESTA XIII to be held in Barbados form 17-27 August 2017 under the theme “Asserting Our Culture Celebrating Ourselves”.

Heads of Government acknowledged the importance of the Festival to the Caribbean identity and urged full participation in the event.

Heads of Government accepted the offers of Trinidad and Tobago to host CARIFESTA XIV in 2019 and Antigua and Barbuda to host CARIFESTA XV in 2021.

CARICOM-Cuba

Heads of Government welcomed the conclusion of negotiations by the CARICOM-Cuba Joint Commission on the Second Protocol to the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement.

Heads of Government noted that the agreed Protocol would continue to strengthen the valuable economic relations and co-operation between the Community and Cuba.

Heads of Government looked forward to the speedy conclusion of the requisite internal procedures to allow for signature at the Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting, in March 2017 in Havana, Cuba.

Relations with the Dominican Republic

Heads of Government reviewed the policy guidelines established in relation to the Community’s relations with the Dominican Republic.

Heads of Government condemned the continued statelessness of Dominicans of Haitian descent and expressed concern about their human rights situation.

They agreed to maintain advocacy on their behalf in regional and international fora.

CARICOM – US Relations

Heads of Government emphasised the importance of the long-standing relationship between the Community and the United States of America.  They further noted the strong family links between the peoples of the Community and the United States.

Heads of Government looked forward to continuing the fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship with the new US Administration.

Heads of Government also recognised the importance of the recently adopted bipartisan US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of 2016 that seeks to increase US engagement with the governments and civil society of the Region.

Future of Cotonou Agreement and the ACP Group

Heads of Government considered the future of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of Countries (ACP) including the renewal of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement which governs relations between the Group and the European Union (EU) and which comes to an end in 2020.

Heads of Government noted that the Cotonou Agreement is a unique and valued instrument from which CARICOM has benefitted with regard to trade, development co-operation and political dialogue with Europe and should be renewed.

Heads of Government emphasised that membership in the ACP Group remains a valuable construct which has facilitated relations with Africa and the Pacific and that the Group should be strengthened.

Forum of CARICOM First Ladies and Spouses

Heads of Government welcomed the establishment of the Forum of CARICOM First Ladies and Spouses of Heads of State and Government Network.

Heads of Government received a report from the Forum and agreed to champion the Every Caribbean Woman Every Caribbean Child (ECWECC) Initiative and other activities focussed on addressing violence against women and women’s and children’s health.

Appreciation

Heads of Government expressed appreciation to the Government and people of Guyana for their warm and generous hospitality during the Meeting.

Date of the Thirty-Eighth Regular Meeting of the Conference (July 2017, Grenada)

In accordance with the Rotation Schedule for the Chairmanship of the Conference, the Prime Minister of Grenada will assume the Chairmanship of the Conference for the six-month period commencing 1 July 2017.  The Thirty-Eighth Meeting of the Conference will be held in Grenada from 4-6 July 2017. (PR)

 

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