Sun | May 28, 2017

Here's to many more years of Russia-Jamaica relations

Published:Wednesday | March 18, 2015 | 3:00 AM

Among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, Russians' perception of Jamaica truly stands out - not only as an increasingly popular tourist destination, a country with rich and peculiar culture, homeland of eminent sportsmen and musicians, but also as a reliable partner of Russia.

In a relatively brief historical period since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries on March 12, 1975, it was possible to lay a solid foundation of Russian-Jamaican friendship, mutual understanding and fruitful cooperation. It is noteworthy that our official contacts were initiated in 1962, the momentous year for Jamaica when it gained its independence. On that occasion, the heads of governments of our two countries exchanged congratulatory telegrams. In Russia, we remember the contribution of the leader of the People's National Party and the head of the country's government, Michael Manley, to the development of our bilateral relations in the 1970s. At that time began the formation of the legal basis of the relations between Russia and Jamaica: agreements were signed in the fields of trade; economical, technical and scientific cooperation; ocean shipping; air communication; cultural and scientific cooperation; principles of collaboration in the sphere of sports, TV and radio broadcasting. Trade and economic cooperation gained momentum in the 1980s. Increasing political dialogue between our ministries of foreign affairs has started. Regular consultations on the issues discussed during the UN General Assembly sessions were organised, constant exchange between the Parliaments of our two countries was carried out.

Today our relations, based on accumulated experience of fruitful collaboration, continue to strengthen what is in the interests of the people of both Russia and Jamaica. The leaders of our two countries are mutually determined to intensify bilateral cooperation in all spheres. On June 24, 2014, during the ceremony of presentation of credentials by the newly appointed ambassador of Jamaica to Russia, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin emphasised our commitment to strengthen cooperation with Jamaica, to advance the legal base of our relations, to implement mutually beneficial economic projects. Russia highly appreciates the willingness of the Government of Jamaica to deepen the relations with Russia.

 

collaboration on tourism

 

One of the promising spheres of our bilateral collaboration which was developed recently is tourism. We are grateful for the decision of the Government of Jamaica to abolish visas for Russian tourists. We propose thereafter to sign an intergovernmental agreement which could mutually fix the right for visa-free travelling for both Russian and Jamaica nationals.

We emphasise projects of the largest Russian investor in the bauxite-alumina industry in Jamaica - UC Rusal - incarnated here. As for now, the top priority by the activities of this company is to start working on a more economical, energy-saving industrial platform to increase competitiveness and introduce necessary infrastructure innovations. Successful modernisation of UC Rusal's Alpart plant will bear additional benefits to the economy of Jamaica, will create jobs, and will bring to the national grid the energy surplus from new generation capacities at Alpart.

The Government of the Russian Federation regularly grants scholarships to foreign students, thanks to which new Jamaican students come every year to study at Russian universities. We feel that among the people of Jamaica there is a growing interest in the Russian language, that is why we plan to organise Russian language courses at one of the leading universities in Jamaica. Jamaican musical groups and singers often participate in concerts in Russia, which also indicates growing popularity of Jamaican culture in our country. Recently, Russia along with other countries of the world celebrated the 70th birthday of Bob Marley. Russian fans witnessed new triumphs of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt during the the track and field championship in Moscow in 2013.

The appointment of Francis Tulloch as the honorary consul of Russia in Montego Bay in 2014 testifies to the importance which our country places on the development of ties with Jamaica in all spheres. We expect that his work will also supplement the activities of the Embassy of Russia in Kingston to further develop bilateral relations. We also hope that the Embassy of Jamaica will resume its work in Moscow.

Jamaica is Russia's reliable partner in the international arena. Approaches and positions of our two countries on many international issues of importance are similar or congruent, which makes us natural allies. We highly appreciate Jamaica's support of Russia's priorities, including initiatives for improvement of legal bodies on human rights, international security and counteraction of the glorification of Nazism.

I would like to congratulate our Jamaican friends most sincerely on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

- Sergey A. Ryabkov is deputy minister of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com