Prime Minister holds talks with Canadian Foreign Minister


Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and the Foreign Minister of Canada Mr. Bill Graham, have pledged the cooperation of both countries in helping to restore stability in Haiti. The consensus was reached during a warm and cordial meeting held at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada on Monday, (Apr. 5). Mr. Patterson is in Toronto on an official visit.
Mr. Patterson said Jamaica shares a longstanding and deep-rooted relationship with Canada and that nothing should impair or destroy the value of that association. Mr. Graham said Canada values its relationship with Jamaica and would seek to deepen that connection through trade and other avenues available for cooperation.
He said Canada considers CARICOM essential to the rebuilding of Haiti and would therefore work closely with the countries of the region to determine the mandate for the UN Stabilisation Force to be established in Haiti.
Prime Minister Patterson said Jamaica and CARICOM would remain engaged in Haiti and that the region would shortly be appointing a Special Envoy to that country. He said a Task force is being established to develop a work plan for the region’s involvement in the rebuilding efforts in Haiti.
Turning to the former Haitian President’s temporary asylum in Jamaica, Prime Minister Patterson reasserted that the decision to host Mr. Aristide was a humanitarian gesture that has enabled the former President to be reunited with his family. Foreign Minister Bill Graham expressed satisfaction that while in Jamaica, Mr. Aristide’s conduct had not adversely affected the rebuilding efforts in Haiti.
On the matter of trade between Canada and CARICOM, Prime Minister Patterson stated that Caribbean Leaders at their recent Inter-sessional meeting in St. Kitts/Nevis had agreed to advance work on the establishment of a CARICOM/Canada Trade Agreement. Mr. Graham said Canada looked forward to the agreement and commended the region on the approach that had been taken in its trade negotiations in the various negotiating theatres.
Prime Minister Patterson was supported at the talks by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senator Delano Franklyn and High Commissioner to Canada Mr. Carl Marshall.

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