CARICOM Strengthens Relations With Japan and Israel
Georgetown, Guyana, CMC – The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping is deepening its relations with Japan and Israel.
A CARICOM statement said that since 1993, relations between CARICOM and Japan have been moving apace evidenced by a Summit of Heads of Government, four ministerial sessions, and 17 consultations held among senior officials.
The Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said it has received the accreditation of Japan’s new Ambassador Mitsuhiko Okada and that Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, Deputy CARICOM Secretary-General in accepting the Letters of Credence restated the Community’s “profound appreciation” to Japan for contributing to the construction of the CARICOM Secretariat building.
She noted also the first visit of a Japanese prime minister to the region in 2014 and the new level of political engagement it carried.
She said as n influential voice in the international fora, CARICOM greatly values its friendship with this pacific island nation.
Japan, in recognising the peculiar vulnerability of Small Island Development States (SIDS) which include CARICOM States, has expressed a willingness to take into consideration issues other than GDP as criteria for determining the provision of official development assistance.
Ambassador Okada pledged to “vigorously build upon the strong foundation and closer ties” which the two sides have had.
“Japan has a very strong history of cooperation and mutual support with the CARICOM Secretariat, and I am firmly committed to fulfilling my important mission and providing all possible means for the development of CARICOM Member States.
“I look forward to attending my first Japan-CARICOM consultation meeting this year and working towards the continued strengthening of ties between Japan and CARICOM member states,” Okada said.
Meanwhile, CARICOM has also received the new new Israeli envoy as the Middle-Eastern state reaffirmed its commitment to assist CARICOM to achieve its ideals.
Israel’s Plenipotentiary Representative to CARICOM, Mordehai Amihai-Biva said “the objectives of the Caribbean Community are noble ones.
“They are centred on people: full employment, development, health and education. The true success of any nation will be measured by its ability to deliver on these goals, and the Caribbean Community has focused its efforts on helping its members achieve them. Israel has proven successes on all those fronts and is willing to share its experience and know-how with developing nations of the region.”
Describing relations between CARICOM and Israel as “natural” he said through the Israel Agency for International Development Cooperation, dozens of professionals from the region have advanced their training in agriculture, healthcare, education, alternative energy and sustainable development, over the past year.
On the political front he said: “the recent terror attacks in Europe, the Middle East and the United States, and the ongoing tragedy in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, demonstrate that terrorism and bigotry know no borders and seek only to impose a new dark age on humanity.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a small or large nation; if you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim; if you are located in Europe, Asia or the Caribbean – as long as we share the same values of freedom and tolerance, and respect for life and human dignity, we are compelled to confront those who want to destroy our civilization.
“The strong, unified front of civilized nations, to which both Israel and the Caribbean Community belong, will help ensure that the values of freedom and tolerance will prevail.”
Mr. Amihai-Bivas is the second Israeli Ambassador to be accredited to CARICOM.
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