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SG LaRocque seeks Slovenia’s support in advocating for CARICOM on EU graduation policy

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has sought the support of Slovenia in advocating for CARICOM regarding graduation in the EU development policy. 
The Secretary General was making remarks during a ceremony in which the newly appointed Slovenian Ambassador to CARICOM His Excellency Bozo Cerar handed over his credentials.  The ceremony was held at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown Guyana.  Ambassador LaRocque said he was sure Slovenia understood the vulnerabilities of small States and would advocate on the Community’s behalf in the Councils of the EU with respect to how the policy of ‘graduating’ middle income countries is applied.
Ambassador LaRocque also identified three key issues on which CARICOM and Slovenia could successfully engage to facilitate advances within the international community. The issues included the post 2015 Development Agenda, the ongoing global climate change negotiations and the fight against non communicable diseases (NCDs).
“Each of these issues is of paramount importance to CARICOM. In fact they are, for us survival issues affecting how and if our children will inherit a quality of life that meets their expectations” said Secretary General LaRocque.
Other areas of technical cooperation expressed by the Secretary General included education and training, people-to-people contact, cultural exchange, tourism and trade. He said he was convinced that the scope existed for action to be pursued in those areas. He also noted that a framework cooperation agreement in that regard would enable the implementation of programmes that positive impact people’s lives.
“There is a saying that if nothing is ventured nothing is gained. I dare us to venture in that spirit for the benefit of our peoples”
In his remarks Ambassador Cerar said his country was determined to deepen bilateral cooperation in areas where it has proven its value.  He said Slovenia would continue to contribute to the efforts of the international community with humanitarian relief when facing disasters in the Caribbean.
He said there were numerous possibilities for the expansion and deepening of the relationship between CARICOM and Slovenia. “I am determined to working towards the advancement of these goals to the mutual benefit of Slovenia and the Caribbean Community” he said.
“It is our belief that free movement of goods goes hand in hand with free movement of people. For this reason Slovenia advocates an EU visa liberalization regime for the OECS (Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States) countries (conditional to their fulfillment of criteria), that still do not have a visa free regime, that should benefit both sides and its people,” Dr Cerar added.

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