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Statement by Ambassador Claes Hammar, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the Occasion of the Presentation of Credentials to Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of CARICOM

It is a great honour for me to present today, as the first time ever for Sweden, my credentials as Plenipotentiary Representative of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Mr. Carl Bildt. Although I and my predecessors have been accredited to the individual Member States of CARICOM, we see this as an historic and significant step in our wish to deepen our relations with this important region. This is also a follow-up of the most interesting meetings our Minister for Foreign Affairs and other Nordic Foreign Ministers have had with you, Ambassador LaRocque, and other Caribbean Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors in New York in recent years, during the UN General Assembly.
The foreign policy of Sweden attempts to actively contribute to freedom, peace and reconciliation around the world. We work to promote democracy, human rights and sustainable development in cooperation with other countries, regions and multilaterally.
Sweden is also an active part of a strong, united and open Europe. And our Europe is a global Europe.
We recognize the seriousness of the global challenges facing our environment and our climate. Sweden wants the EU to contribute to pursue an ambitious policy beyond 2020. The EU should continue to take the lead in the ongoing efforts to bring about a new global climate agreement in Paris in 2015. We look forward to continued cooperation with CARICOM and the Caribbean countries in this area, where we have many common interests.
Sweden is committed to an EU that strengthens strategic links with other global actors. Our Europe is a Europe with a clear foreign policy vision. We are working for a world of equality, a world in which everyone’s rights are respected regardless of gender, skin colour, belief or sexual orientation. Freedom of expression and of religion must be further strengthened. Sweden today is a leading advocate of freedom on the internet – in multilateral negotiations and in the debate with proponents of censorship and restrictions of freedom.
Given Sweden’s commitment to global multilateral cooperation, it is natural that we promote a European Union that contributes to the UN’s work, not least in the everyday lives and reality of vulnerable people. We are acting to strengthen the humanitarian response system. In this region, after the devastating Earthquake in Haiti, Sweden has been one of the major donors of humanitarian assistance to that country and is still continuing this assistance even this year. We are also a strong supporter of EU’s cooperation program with Haiti, and also the programs with many other countries in the Caribbean.
Sweden wants to see new universal sustainable development goals that include democracy, human rights, gender equality, climate and the environment, and freedom from violence. We continue to work for reform of the UN system to ensure greater transparency, efficiency and results-based management.
Sweden is a candidate for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2017-2018. If elected, it will be twenty years since Sweden’s latest term on the Security Council, in 1997-1998. Steadfast support for the UN is a longstanding cornerstone for Sweden’s foreign policy. Our candidacy will, with Nordic support, build on our merits as a committed, generous and principled UN member. Sweden is the sixth largest donor to the UN system. Some 80 000 Swedes have served in UN peacekeeping over the years and we are the third largest humanitarian donor. Given that we are a relatively small country, with less than 10 million inhabitants, we feel pride over our level of engagement. Sweden has a long-standing commitment to peacekeeping, conflict prevention, mediation and peace-building and we believe that this commitment is also shared with the Caribbean countries. We also share the vision that smaller countries need to be represented, and make important contributions to all UN bodies, not least the Security Council. We would welcome your support for our candidacy.
Sweden will continue to make a difference by being a reliable and principled voice for democracy and freedom, a long-term generous and accountable aid donor, and a patient and consistent voice for free trade and multilateral cooperation.
Dear Secretary-General, Ambassador LaRocque, I therefore very much look forward to the opportunity to enhance the cooperation between Sweden and the CARICOM Secretariat and its member countries. Thank you.

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