NetherlandsStatements and Declarations

Remarks by HE Raphael Varga – Accreditation Ceremony, Ambassador of the Netherlands to CARICOM

CARICOM Letter of Credence 17th of February 2021

His Excellency Raphaël Varga, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to CARICOM

Your Excellency Ambassador Irwin Larocque, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM).

It is a great honour for me to present my credentials

as Plenipotentiary Representative of the Kingdom of The Netherlands to CARICOM, signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok, to you today.

I would have much preferred to be in Guyana now to present my credentials, to discuss matters of mutual interest and to get an impression of your headquarters in Georgetown. Post-Covid I am sure that will happen. This virtual presentation from Port of Spain is an innovative and alternative option, that has been made possible more and more in recent times.

(Let me introduce you also to my colleague, Mr. Linley Geeban, who has been for many years the trade officer of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Port of Spain.)

The past year has been exceptional. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world community. With the vaccination programme now starting it is good to see solidarity among  CARICOM member states.

Multilateralism remains key in the foreign policy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. International cooperation is essential to preserve peace and promote security, prosperity and justice throughout the world. Major issues like environmental protection, the war on drugs, gender equality, food security, curbing population growth and  fighting pandemics require a global approach. 

My country wants to contribute and is active in numerous multilateral fora. Climate change and global environmental  challenges are top priorities. In this region we have been advocating capacity building programmes for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). As a matter of fact the Netherlands Institute for International Relations Clingendael is organizing  an online training programme for diplomats from SIDS countries called ‘Blue Diplomacy: Enhancing sustainable economic development of the Oceans’ from the 1st till the 12th of March 2021.

As Ambassador of The Kingdom of the Netherlands, I represent the interests of all our (autonomous) countries in international organizations. Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten and the Caribbean part of the Netherlands are direct neighbours of the CARICOM member states and an important part of this region. There is a lively interaction between our communities. The Kingdom has in the past been working closely together with CDEMA and Impacs. The Kingdom of the Netherlands assisted in the area of Maritime Counter Narcotics operations and identified regional security, sustainable development and good governance as areas in which  relations could be broadened and deepened. We were happy to be able to provide emergency relief when your home country Dominica was hit by the devastating hurricane Maria in 2017.

Your Excellency, please allow me to bring up the following in the field of regional security.

2021 will be an important year for enhancing the Treaty, with the Meeting of the State Parties (MoSP) hopefully taking place at the end of the year. The Kingdom is actively supporting a UNODC project that will help interested countries to clarify/overcome obstructions to signing, with a specific focus on CARICOM states.

The Kingdom of The Netherlands looks forward to continuing  the work with CARICOM to promote the Treaty in order to expand the number of state parties and therewith the Treaty’s application and effectiveness as a legal base for maritime security cooperation.

In addition, the Kingdom of The Netherlands would appreciate it if the importance of signing the Treaty could be put on the agendas of the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement and the CARICOM’s Heads of State.

Allow me to finish with a positive note. I am happy to inform you that the relationship between Suriname and the Kingdom of The Netherlands has quickly intensified since the Santokhi-government took office. The Kingdom and Suriname are bound by their populations and historical ties. We are working together with the Santokhi-government towards a modern and broad relationship, based on trust and respect. Over the past months numerous meetings were held. H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok attended the 45th Independence Day celebration in Suriname on November 25th and on February 10th H.E. Ambassador Henk van der Zwan presented his credentials to H.E. President Santokhi in Paramaribo. His counterpart in the Netherlands, H.E. Ambassador Rajendre Khargi, presented his credentials on the same day in The Hague to His Majesty King Willem Alexander.

Your Excellency, dear Secretary General. I am looking forward to continue the good cooperation between my country, your organization and the CARICOM member states and I am at your disposal for further discussions.

Thank You, Merci Beaucoup, Hartelijk Dank

Raphael Varga van Kibéd

Port of Spain

Trinidad & Tobago

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