Mon | May 28, 2018

Tillerson axed - Jamaica-US ties remain strong, says Johnson Smith

Published:Wednesday | March 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Rex Tillerson

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith says that the relationship between Jamaica and the United States (US) will not suffer as a consequence of the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by President Donald Trump yesterday.

Tillerson visited Jamaica in February and held important bilateral talks with Johnson Smith and Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

He is to be replaced by Mike Pompeo, the Central Intelligence Agency director, who Trump nominated for the post pending Senate approval.

Johnson Smith told The Gleaner that issues discussed during Tillerson's visit remain relevant, when quizzed if the recent development could pose a threat to current and ongoing trade relations between the two countries.

"We had high-level discussions on ongoing bilateral issues when (Tillerson) visited, which will remain relevant to Jamaica, US relations," Johnson Smith said. "We have been given no reason to have any such concerns.

 

INTERESTING TIME

 

Tillerson's removal comes at an interesting time, given that Trump agreed in principle last week to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the North's nuclear ambition.

Johnson Smith noted that she was not concerned about the changes at the State Department in relation to the impact it could have on relations on national security and other matters of importance for Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

"No, I am not concerned; Jamaica-US relations, across administrations on both sides, have always been strong and, certainly, high-level visits

are always important to strengthening relations and cooperation between countries," she said of a potential invite for Pompeo to come to the island, as his predecessor did.

"Jamaica and the United States of America have always had strong ties of cooperation, trade and friendship, and we intend to continue to build on same," Johnson Smith said through a press statement.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com

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