- Your Excellency Francisco Sepulveda Valenzuela, Plenipotentiary Representative Designate of the Republic of Chile to CARICOM;
- Mr. Alejandro Perez, Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul, Embassy of the Republic of Chile;
- Ambassador Donna Forde, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, and Staff of the CARICOM Secretariat.
Excellency, it is with great pleasure that I extend a warm welcome to you on the occasion of your Presentation of Credentials accrediting you as Chile’s Plenipotentiary Representative to the Caribbean Community. I take this opportunity to commend your predecessor, His Excellency Juan Pino Vásquez, for his frequent engagement and demonstrated efforts to deepen CARICOM-Chile relations.
Ambassador, the Member States of CARICOM value highly the close and collegial relationship forged with Chile over the years. Our bilateral discussions, and our engagement at the regional and hemispheric levels, through shared membership of regional and hemispheric groupings such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Organization of American States (OAS), reflect our common interests and concerns.
This relationship is also underpinned by bilateral engagements at the political, official and technical levels. Indeed, our Heads of Government have had the pleasure of welcoming Chilean Presidents to our Summit meetings on more than one occasion.
I had the pleasure of meeting your Foreign Minister last September in the margins of the Seventy-Seventh United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77). We engaged on several issues of mutual interest as well as committed to deepening our collaboration.
Relations between CARICOM and Chile date back to 1996 when we signed an Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation, which paved the way for collaboration in a wide range of areas. Chile has offered technical assistance primarily in the form of training courses in Natural Resources, Agriculture, Health and Nutrition, International Negotiations with Diplomatic Training, and Foreign Language Training for High School Teachers in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI). Staff of our Secretariat have also benefitted from these initiatives. These programmes hold great importance for CARICOM and play a role in building the Community’s human capital in these critical areas.
Regrettably, the CARICOM Standing Joint Commission on Consultation and Coordination, the main implementing mechanism established under the Agreement has not met for some time. I hope that during your tenure we can work together to reconvene this Commission.
CARICOM and Chile adopt similar positions on critical international issues, including climate change and climate finance. We look forward to Chile’s continuing advocacy for the positions of our Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS) on these issues.
Excellency, graduation from access to concessional financing is another issue which continues to occupy the attention of CARICOM Member States. Many of our Member States are categorised as Middle-Income Countries (MICs). The use of per capita income as the primary condition works to their detriment. CARICOM hopes that it can count on Chile‘s advocacy in international fora such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), for its efforts to have vulnerability factored into the determination of eligibility for development financing.
In closing, Excellency, your accreditation as Chile’s Ambassador to the Caribbean Community, is greatly welcomed and is certain to see the enhancement of the already deep, strong and friendly relationship between CARICOM and Chile. We welcome you and wish you the very best in your new capacity.
I thank you!