NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders during their 44th summit that gets underway in the Bahamas on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell has said.
Mitchell said that the Ukrainian leader will be addressing the regional leaders by video link on Friday from the Ukrainian capital.
CARICOM had in February last year, issued a statement “strongly” condemning the military attacks and invasion of Ukraine by Russia and called “for the immediate and complete withdrawal of the military presence and cessation of any further actions that may intensify the current perilous situation in that country.
“The recognition by The Russian Federation of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk represents a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” CARICOM said, noting that “the hostilities against Ukraine go counter to the principles of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign state and the prohibition on the threat or use of force, and the peaceful resolution of disputes, which are the bedrock of this Community”.
The 15-member regional integration grouping called on all parties involved “to urgently embark on intensified diplomatic dialogue to immediately de-escalate hostilities and work towards a sustainable peace”.
Mitchell told a news conference that a solution to the instability in Haiti will also be a major agenda item at the three-day conference that will also be attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“You know that Haiti has been descending into chaos as a result of the collapse of their political system,” said Mitchell, adding that “the countries around the world and in this hemisphere have been trying to see what we can do to help.
“The United States has been front and centre of this and that is part of the reason why they are bringing such a large delegation. The Bahamas, being 90 miles to the north of Haiti and being the transit passage for Haitians on their way to the United States, the US has been trying to find ways to solve the political situation in Haiti and improve the security in that country.”
Mitchell said the Canadians have agreed to take the lead in trying to resolve some of these problems and that Trudeau will be holding talks with Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis, who is also the CARICOM chairman on the matter.
“Jamaica and The Bahamas have agreed to provide manpower if the United Nations decides that there is a force to go into Haiti again. The question is how will those modalities be handled. We obviously do not have the manpower to undertake such an exercise. We want to contribute to it and we want to contribute to a solution.
“The developed countries have been speaking to CARICOM whether or not we support what is being proposed and whether or not we will work with them on taking the lead,” Mitchell said, adding that the issue of climate change and food security will also feature during the summit.
Assistant Secretary-General of the Directorate of Foreign and Community Relations within the CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador Donna Forde, said Canada is a “longstanding bilateral partner” and CARICOM is happy that another opportunity presented itself for an inaugural meeting between the the regional leaders and Trudeau.
A CARICOM statement said that the regional leaders will also hold talks with the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the President and Chairman of the African Export-Import Bank, Professor Benedict Okey Oramah; and the Executive President of the Development Bank of Latin America , Sergio Díaz-Granados.