Feb 17, 2016 News
By Abena Rockcliffe
Government has been able to maintain and, in some cases, even strengthen bilateral relationships at both the
regional and international level. This achievement was highlighted by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge during his speech at the Budget debate.
Greenidge told the House of the strides made in strengthening relations. He noted that Ecuador has also signaled an interest in establishing an Embassy in Georgetown.
Greenidge reported that Guyana’s relations with Caribbean jurisdictions remain strong.
He said that it is the view of the Government of Guyana that strong bilateral relations are at the heart of regional integration and have the proven ability to redound to the benefit of the people of the concerned countries.
As a result, Greenidge’s Ministry has sought to strengthen existing relations between Guyana and its many bilateral partners, including those in the Caribbean region.
He informed the House, too, that Cuba remains “an important partner and friend to Guyana”.
Speaking about relations with Latin American countries, Greenidge said that particular emphasis was placed over the past eight months on intensifying political exchanges, with greater emphasis on advancing Guyana’s interests. The interests advanced, related to the preservation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; expanding mutually beneficial partnerships and promoting peace and stability.
Greenidge said that high-level exchanges were held with the Presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, and with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and Panama.
The politician boasted that Guyana’s relations with Chile moved on an upward trajectory with the establishment of the Embassy of Chile in Georgetown. He said that Chile continues to provide support to Guyana’s capacity building.
The House was also informed that bilateral cooperation with Argentina is expected to be much improved this year.
Greenidge said too that Guyana’s relationship with Brazil remains excellent. He was optimistic that this affiliation will continue to flourish as the two countries pursue some key initiatives which will have positive economic benefits for Guyana.
The Minister told the House that a visit to Guyana by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil next month “will provide the opportunity for us to jointly develop ways of enhancing relations based on the discussions sustained by the two Presidents in July last”.
He added that Guyana has begun the process of re-engaging the Colombians in collaborating in areas of trade and technical cooperation under the Guyana/Colombia Joint Commission.
According to Greenidge, since assuming office, the government has overseen a marked improvement in relations with the USA. He said that for the first time in history, the USA, through its Mission in Georgetown, publicly stated its support for Guyana’s position on the controversy with Venezuela, and talks have intensified also in this area.
The Minister said that cooperation between the two countries was also maintained at a high level, especially in capacity building in the area of security, through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
Greenidge said that relations with Mexico have advanced considerably, not only at the bilateral level, but in the framework of the CARICOM/Mexico Cooperation Programme, especially in the areas of Food Security, Climate Change, Regional Security and Diaspora Management.
He said that Canada remains one of the largest investors in Guyana’s mineral and gold industry. “While most of the technical cooperation programme is pursued within the framework of the Canada/CARICOM Regional Cooperation Programme, there are opportunities for more active bilateral cooperation. We are in the process of pursuing, in the course of 2016, more in-depth investment and regulatory framework for cooperating,” Greenidge said.
Greenidge told the House that his Ministry aims to strengthen the relationship with China and India, two of Guyana’s longstanding development partners. He said that Guyana and China have had a very solid economic and social cooperation programme over the years.
“At the end of 2013 for example, China had over US$180 million in Guyana in investments. China has also allocated US$3B in concessionary financing for eight Caribbean nations. It has pledged US$250 billion in investments for the countries of the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC) from which Guyana stands to benefit.
Guyana/China relations will also be guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and common positions at the multilateral level with a view to promoting the Small States agenda,” said Greenidge.
He also noted that relations between Guyana and India are “dynamic.”
The Minister said that a Memorandum of Understanding will soon be concluded for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology in Guyana, and this will create capacity to help Guyana in its move to modernize and democratize governance structures in particular. India has also pledged to assist Guyana to realize the road linkage between the East Coast of Demerara and the East Bank of Demerara.
Greenidge said that President David Granger and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have had a series of bilateral with African Heads of State, including those of Kenya, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.
He said that the new administration has also received emissaries from Georgia, Japan, France, Singapore and the Netherlands. An agreement for visa-free travel for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports with Georgia was concluded.
Also, an agreement for visa-free travel for all categories of passports was also concluded with Russia to coincide with the commemoration, last December, of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
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