Joint diplomatic representation crucial

-Rodrigues-Birkett tells Caricom foreign ministers

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett called on Caricom member states to optimise their “14 voices” and focus on joint diplomatic representation during foreign policy negotiations, in her address at the opening ceremony of the 17th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR).

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett delivering remarks at the opening of the 17th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations. She is also the new Chair of COFCOR. (GINA photo)

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett delivering remarks at the opening of the 17th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations. She is also the new Chair of COFCOR. (GINA photo)

The COFCOR comes at a time when Caricom is undertaking an introspection of how to strengthen systems and processes in the integration movement, she said at the opening ceremony held on Tuesday at the Guyana International Conference Centre. The minister also noted that key to this development is a strategic plan that will focus on areas that the Community should give priority as it seeks to maximise its human and financial resources.

At the level of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations, the Community has had to be aware and prepared to respond to changes on the international scene that would consequently require a repositioning of our policies. This has therefore been a central issue at several meetings, the minister said, according to a Communique from the Caricom Secretariat.

 

Foreign policy

 

Foreign policy coordination has been roundly criticised within the borders of member states and more so from those who seek the creation of a stronger, more interdependent community of nation states, Rodrigues-Birkett said. However, she noted, “It must be clear that coordination is not necessarily unanimity of positions even though one may question what was the objective in the first instance if this is the case.”

The minister asserted that while there will be instances where member states will have divergent positions they must persevere to maximise “our 14 voices and 14 votes. We must be prepared at times, to sacrifice short term individual gains in order …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.



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