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Sep 12, 2014

Regional Foreign Ministers Converge on San Pedro for SICA Meeting

The Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of the Central American System of Integration, SICA was held today in San Pedro. Belize has the six-month rotating presidency until the end of December. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington chaired the proceedings. Belize is hoping to further develop trade relations between SICA and CARICOM and to address the issue of climate change, economic integration, poverty alleviation and other priority areas for the region. Elrington explains that the council of ministers has agreed to support Belize’s plan of action.

 

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, Foreign Affairs Minister

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington

“The important areas which we are continuing to emphasize are the five pillars identified and prioritize by the heads of government in our last meeting in Dominica Republic and these include Climate Change, the Disaster Risk Management; Democratic Security; Economic Integration; Social Inclusion and Poverty Alleviation and Institutional Strengthening. These are really ongoing initiatives and each government upon assuming the presidency tend to highlight different areas and certainly under our watch, we will be trying to strengthen our relationship between CARICOM and the SICA countries and we will also seek to strengthen the trade relationship between the two regions particularly in light of the fact that trade and investment is the lifeblood of any region and certainly of every region integration movement. These are all areas in which all members countries are fully connected. So they are all excited by the prospect of working more closely with CARICOM on the matter of climate change on which CARICOM has some expertise. On the area of sit-docs in terms of energy and the like. We are working together dealing with security and crime and we are also very much concerned with the economic development of the region. So all these areas we will be working on and focusing on. There was complete consensus on the way forward in terms of what we are going to be doing, supporting Belize’s plan of action and priority. All the participants commended Belize on the choice of priority areas and pledged their support for those activities. We also discussed requirements or requests by the federation of Russia and Turkey to become observer members of SICA. We are processing those requests and we will make a final determination at the next meeting of the council of ministers.”

 

The next step, says Elrington, is to implement the decisions. In October, Belize will host the first meeting of regional government officials to look at the trade situation in Belize, the obstacles of trading and ways to remove those obstacles.

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