Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has declared the Ministerial Meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean on Integration and Development (CALC), and the 28th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Rio group, a total success.
He says the deliberations should lead to greater levels of economic co-operation and better integration in the region.
The meetings, which were hosted by Jamaica, were held simultaneously at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay St. James from November 4 to 6, with participation from some 33 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 10 international organisations.
Addressing the closing press conference on Friday, November 6, Dr. Baugh said that the meetings were very intense in terms of participation and intervention, and all the participants left with a feeling that the Caribbean and Latin American integration process had moved a step further, continuing a momentum which began in last year’s meetings.
“It has really intensified, and we have a feeling that there is a unanimous position, in terms of the integration movement, developing closer ties, and economic cooperation, trading activities, and we have identified many areas of cooperation to be pursued,” he stated.
He said that the deliberations will continue during a Heads of Government summit in Mexico in February 2010, where reports out of the Montego Bay meeting, will be presented.
Highlighting some of the issues discussed and decisions taken during the meetings, Dr. Baugh outlined that Jamaica, which represents CARICOM in the Rio Group, had its application for individual membership in that group ratified by acclamation by the meeting. This will make Jamaica its 25th member.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh (right), listens to comments made by Minister of External Relations, Federative Republic of Brazil, His Excellency Celso Amorim (left), at the closing press conference of the Ministerial Meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean on Integration and Development (CALC), held at the Rose Hall Hotel and Spa, in Montego Bay, on Friday, November 6.
He stressed however that Jamaica will continue to represent CARICOM at the meetings until 2011, as agreed.
Dr. Baugh said that the Rio Group has also renewed its invitation to other CARICOM members, with several of them expressing their intentions to be a part of the Group.
He outlined that both the Rio Group and the Latin American and Caribbean Foreign Ministers, had passed resolutions calling for elected Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya Rosales to be reinstated to office.
He emphasised that Jamaica fully endorses the objectives of the group as a regional mechanism for dialogue and co-ordinated political action, adding that Jamaica also shares the commitment of the group to the preservation of peace, protection of democratic values, respect for the rule of law and the fostering of multi-lateralism.
Dr. Baugh outlined that the Ministers had also reiterated their full support for the principles of international law, particularly those contained in the United Nations Charter. They also strongly rejected the threat and use of force among states, intervention in internal affairs of a country, and unilateral coercive economic measures.
Also discussed was the integration and development of the region within the context of global challenges, with an action plan being developed.
Also making presentations at the press conference were Minister of Foreign Affairs for Mexico, and Chairman of the Rio Group, Her Excellency Patricia Espinosa Cantellano; and Foreign Minister for Brazil, His Excellency Celso Amorim; Minister of Foreign Affairs for Chile, His Excellency Mariano Fernandez; and Dominican Republic Ambassador, His Excellency Dr. Jose Ares.