Caricom foreign ministers urge US to remove Cuba from terrorism blacklist

While reconfirming their commitment towards combatting terrorism in all its forms, Caribbean Community (Caricom) foreign ministers have called on the US government to remove Cuba from the blacklist of states allegedly supporting and sponsoring terrorism.

This call was made at the fourth meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Caricom and the Republic of Cuba on September 6, 2013 on Calivigny Island, Grenada.

Following the meeting that reviewed the status of Caricom-Cuba relations and renewed commitment towards continued cooperation and collaboration, the Caricom and Cuban foreign ministers issued a final declaration that covered varied topics from acknowledging the debt of gratitude to the people of Haiti for being the first to abolish slavery, to reaffirming Caricom’s support for Cuba to participate without preconditions in the Summit of the Americas mechanism, and to recognising the contribution of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frias towards the integration and unity of the peoples of the region and beyond expressed through, PetroCaribe, ALBA and CELAC.

They expressed confidence that the Venezuelan Government will guarantee the continuity and consolidation of the integrationist ideals and historic legacy Chávez left behind in the Region.

The foreign ministers also agreed to continue to give priority to trade relations between Caricom and Cuba, to update and implement the Caricom-Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement and to revitalise the Caricom-Cuba Joint Commission.

They reaffirmed their commitment to joint efforts in the areas of health, education, culture, and natural disasters and other areas of mutual interest at the regional level aimed at promoting the human and social development.

They acknowledged the tremendous challenges imposed by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean and asserted their determination to combat the most prominent NCDs such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer, and recognised the most feasible combative strategy would be an approach that would include risk factor reduction, health system reform, equitable access to affordable medicines, and, improved surveillance and monitoring and assessment programmes.

They also committed to taking an active role in the process of formulation of the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda [beyond the Millennium Development Goals], and recognised the need for transparent and inclusive negotiations, whose final outcome should respond in general to developing countries concerns, problems, needs and priorities. They noted that the special vulnerabilities of small island developing states should be addressed in that context.

The meeting was jointly chaired by Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, and Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

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