Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is seeking to expand its diplomatic footprint not only in North America and Europe but in the Middle East, according to the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development and Investment, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, a former prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis with 20 years experience at the helm.
“Generally, we would have said that we would want to progress St. Kitts and Nevis as a sustainable island state. That is what our foreign policy is in fact working towards—establishing consolidating relationships with countries and international organizations so that we would be able to receive the necessary support and collaboration to achieve St. Kitts and Nevis as a sustainable island state…we improve relations and we do so not only in Canada, the United States but in Europe as well,” Dr. Douglas said at the Prime Minister’s Press Conference with Cabinet Ministers on July 13.
He said that St. Kitts and Nevis recently established a diplomatic relationship with the Republic of Ireland for the first time in its history so that “we can have a seat at the table of the European Union (EU)”. He said that although the Federation has had a long-standing diplomatic relationship with the United Kingdom (UK), it was essential that we have representation in the EU to address matters of concern to St. Kitts and Nevis and the European economic and trading bloc since the UK is not a member of the EU.
The foreign minister also said that the Federation is looking to expand its diplomatic presence in the Middle East and North Africa.
“We want to make sure that we expand and in expanding we are looking now…at the Middle East and North Africa. We already have an embassy in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) that is in Abu Dhabi. We used to have a consulate in Dubai. We are looking at how we would want to consolidate our presence not only at the diplomatic level in the UAE but also in terms of business, especially given the portfolios of Economic Development and Investment—we consolidate our presence also in Dubai which is the center of economic activity in the UAE but we want to go beyond that,” he said.
The Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis in Abu Dhabi was opened on November 17, 2021.
Dr. Douglas also said that the Ministry of Foreign is desirous of improving relationships in other countries in North Africa in addition to the Kingdom of Morocco, where His Excellency Ian Queeley is the resident OECS Ambassador at the Embassies of Eastern Caribbean States in Rabat, “so that we build and consolidate our position in that area, especially for the opportunities for investment”.
The foreign minister added: “Speaking of that, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are two of the countries that we will be partnering with because we know there is intense competition between the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and we are going to see how we can get involved while this activity of competition ongoing – how we can establish a firm relationship in these two countries.
Dr. Douglas said that talks are ongoing to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia whether through an embassy or consulate.
“This is going to be pursued vigorously over the next few weeks,” he said.