St Kitts Foreign Minister does not regard meeting with Pompeo as dividing CARICOM
BASSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Brantley says St Kitts-Nevis does not regard the move by the United States to invite some regional countries to a meeting in Jamaica with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as a means of dividing the 15-member regional integration movement.
Further, Brantley said that Basseterre would use its presence at the talks to pursue outstanding bilateral issues.
“Well the Secretary of State for the United States has extended an invitation to St Kitts-Nevis at the foreign minister level and we are carefully looking at that because we have some very important bilateral issues with the United States.
“It is very likely that we will seek to attend …unless something would change,” Brantley said in an interview on the WINN FM radio station here.
Pompeo, who is visiting several countries in Latin America, said his two-day visit to Jamaica from Tuesday will allow him to meet with “many Caribbean leaders to discuss how we can all work together to promote our common democratic values and prosperity for all of our people.”
Pompeo said he would also participate in a round-table with the foreign ministers of Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia.
Another issue on the table will be the current situation in Venezuela as Washington continues to lead efforts to remove President Nicolas Maduro from office in the South American country in support of the Opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Over the weekend, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who is also the chairman of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), warned of the attempt to divide the regional grouping.
“As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my foreign minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region,” Mottley said on Saturday.
Brantley said while it is not for him to respond to Mottley’s statement, “I think that each country has bilateral interests.
“The United States continues to be a very significant partner…and as you are well aware since 2015 when I became Foreign Minister, it has been my charge from the Cabinet to try and repair relations with the United States because we inherited a situation where relations…were at an all-time low”.
He said to be afforded an opportunity to hold discussions with Pompeo “and to raise some of the critical bilateral issues, I think that is an important opportunity for the government and people of St. Kitts-Nevis.”
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