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STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR DR. HELMUT OHLRAUN OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS TO H.E. EDWIN CARRINGTON, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM) AS PLENIPOTENTIARY REPRESENTATIVE TO CARICOM,  16 JANUARY 2006, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA


Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings by admin | 16 January 2006 | Release Ref #: 13/2006 | 1742

     Your Excellency Mr. Secretary-General Madam Deputy Secretary- General Members of CARICOM staff Representatives of the Media Ladies and Gentlemen,

    With my accreditation as Plenipotentiary Representative, the Caribbean Community and Germany establish formal relations.

    Let me use this opportunity to reflect on the nature of our relationship. Unlike some of our European friends we do not and did not possess territories in ther. As our diplomatic presence in Port-of-Spain, Kingston, Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince shows we have, however, a strong interest to maintain and expand our relations with the countries of the region, our political and economic relations in particular. Let me quote from the coalition agreement of November 2005 which defines the policies of Germany's new Government:

    "We intend to pursue our relations with Latin America and the Caribbean on the basis of our traditional friendships. We want to realise our interest in regional stability, democracy, prosperity and lively economic and cultural exchange and at the same time contribute to the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism."

    When we look at the region, we have, first of all, our bilateral relations with the different countries in mind. But we also follow, and increasingly so, the efforts towards regional and sub regional integration. CARICOM clearly stands out as the major regional organisation in the Caribbean. In establishing formal relations with CARICOM we pay tribute to its pivotal role for regional stability and prosperity.

    After making a large step forward by inaugurating the Caribbean Court of Justice, the Community now moves into a new era by establishing a Single Market. As Europeans, we are, of course, keenly aware of the enormous importance this will have for the future of the region.

    European integration has been, in spite of all problems and setbacks, a success story. It makes us strong to face the challenges of globalisation and to fully assume our international responsibilities. It proves, incidentally, that in a functioning integration system, also small nations can be very successful.

    Likewise, CARICOM is, in my view, the region's appropriate answer to the demands of a globalising economy and to a situation where security concerns, ecological problems and the maintenance of peace can no longer be addressed without international cooperation. It is with our European experience in mind that I wish the Caribbean Community success in its efforts to get together constantly closer and stronger. Germany is ready to support you in this historic endeavour.

    Establishing formal relations with the Caribbean Community is also in Germany's interest. We have been and are cooperating with the Community through different channels, above all the European Union, the biggest donor in the region where we contribute with 20 percent; but also as long-term members of the Interamerican Development Bank and of the Caribbean Development Bank. And we have added CARICOM as one of our major partners in development. Our major national cooperation programmes in the region are implemented through these partnerships: the HIV/AIDS Prevention programme, our assistance to the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme and a special fund to finance studies and short-term experts.

    We are also very much interested in the development of the Caribbean Single Market. We expect that it will provide new opportunities also for German companies for trade and investments. We are looking forward to intensify our economic presence in an expanding market.

    Last, but by no means least, formal relations between CARICOM and Germany will provide a stronger framework for political dialogue. We shall, of course, continue to cultivate and expand our bilateral relations with CARICOM's member states. In addition to that, we hope to be also able to count on CARICOM as a potent partner of communication and of an exchange of views on regional and global matters with the objective to arrive at a better mutual understanding. This should include, in our view, cooperation in multilateral I in matters like the safeguarding of the environment and the reform of the United Nations.

    Your Excellency, Madame, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I hope I could outline some of the reasons for and of the benefits of closer relations between CARICOM and Germany. I am pleased and proud to be able to make a small contribution as German’s first Plenipotentiary Representative to the Caribbean Community.

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