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  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on Friday (July 3) raised the issue of the improvement of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America at the first plenary session of the 36th Regular Meeting of Heads of Government of CARICOM.
  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson welcomed the positive developments, urged CARICOM to call for the ending of the US trade embargo against Cuba.
  • The Prime Minister said Jamaica welcomed the announcement on July 1 by the Presidents of Cuba and the United States confirming their decision to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on Friday (July 3) raised the issue of the improvement of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America at the first plenary session of the 36th Regular Meeting of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Barbados. Prime Minister Portia Simpson welcomed the positive developments, urged CARICOM to call for the ending of the US trade embargo against Cuba and recommended that the meeting include in its final statement, the regional grouping’s welcoming of the steps taken by Cuba and the US and CARICOM’s position calling for the removal of the trade embargo.

 

The Prime Minister said Jamaica welcomed the announcement on July 1 by the Presidents of Cuba and the United States confirming their decision to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries and to re-open permanent diplomatic missions in their respective capitals as of July 20, 2015.

 

Noting that Cuba and the USA are both longstanding partners of CARICOM countries and that the community has continued to actively monitor the developments in the process towards the normalisation of diplomatic relations, Mrs. Simpson Miller said, “The re-establishment of diplomatic relations, particularly the re-opening of embassies is a significant milestone in the process towards the normalisation of bilateral relations.”

 

She pointed out that although the issue was not on the agenda of the meeting, “Jamaica recommends that as part of the outcome of this meeting, CARICOM issues a statement welcoming the significant step in the normalisation of diplomatic relations marked by the opening of embassies in Havana and Washington.”

 

Jamaica also requested the inclusion of an item on the CARICOM-Canada negotiations in the Communique to be issued at the end of the CARICOM meeting. Prime Minister Simpson Miller reminded the grouping that Canada has formally suspended trade negotiations with CARICOM. Jamaica proposed that the Meeting communique expresses regret at the decision by Canada. Jamaica also wants the communique to reaffirm the Region’s continuing interest in deepening economic cooperation and trade relations with Canada through a mutually beneficial, development-oriented trade agreement, and that the Region stands ready to re-engage in negotiations in the future.

 

Jamaica also wants the final CARICOM meeting statement to emphasise the importance which the Region attaches to the development assistance which Canada has extended at the national and regional levels. Jamaica also proposed that the final statement welcome the decision of the World Trade Organization Council for Trade in Goods on the new waiver for the CARIBCAN trade arrangement to 2023.