Published 22 September 2023
Buckie Got It, St Kitts Nevis News source
Saint Kitts and Nevis Leverages its Participation in the United Nations General Assembly to Strengthen its Bilateral Partnerships
New York – 22nd September 2023 – While in New York to participate in the United Nations High-Level Week for the 78th Session of the General Assembly, the Rt Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas is carving out valuable time to engage with some of Saint Kitts and Nevis’ traditional partners as well as forge relations with new friends.
Saint Kitts and Nevis Minister of Foreign Affairs held fruitful talks with his Kosovar counterpart, H.E. Donika Gervalla Schwarz, and explored potential areas for further cooperation including education, specifically scholarships, and diaspora engagement. Minister Douglas lauded Kosovo’s progress to date having been created and shaped out of internal conflict. Reflecting on Saint Kitts and Nevis’ unique path to self-government Dr Douglas stated with empathy, “I do understand the problems you face as a young State”, and commended Kosovo’s efforts to mobilise its diaspora to provide solutions to the country’s challenges. Both Ministers committed to pursue deeper cooperation and to exchange best practices in areas of mutual interest.
L-R: Minister of Foreign Affairs the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo H.E. Donika Gervalla Schwarz
In 2012, Saint Kitts and Nevis recognized Kosovo’s independence. Relations were later formalized through a Communique signed on 4th February 2016. One month later, both countries signed an Agreement to Abolish the Need for Visas for their nationals to enter the other’s country.
Additionally, the Rt Honourable Dr. Douglas had the opportunity to dialogue with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Simeón Oyono Esono Angue and elaborated on areas ripe for cooperation including agriculture, tourism and sports. It was agreed that mechanisms to facilitate this collaboration will be further discussed for finalisation between the permanent representatives of both countries to the United Nations. The Ministers then proceeded to sign a Joint Communique which was previously negotiated, to establish diplomatic ties.
L-R: Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Simeón Oyono Esono Angue
Located on the west coast of Central Africa, Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa. It is ranked sixth among the highest oil-producing countries in Africa and 34th in the world. Within CARICOM, Haiti, Suriname and Jamaica also established diplomatic relations with Equatorial Guinea in 2008, 2012 and 2015, respectively.
The third bilateral meeting was held on 22nd September 2023 at the UN Headquarters with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Francisco André of Portugal. Both representatives exchanged information on common interests including climate change, the need to reform the international financial institutions to allow for concessionary funding, access to climate finance, accelerating achievement of the SDGs, the importance of the blue economy and transitioning to renewable energy. Minister Douglas rationalized the need for Portugal’s advocacy for the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) in fora where it has a voice. H.E. André committed Portugal’s unwavering support to this and other SIDS-related matters.
L-R: Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Francisco André of Portugal
Saint Kitts and Nevis and Portugal share a common history of colonisation. However, Madeira is an island in Portugal and it is recorded that “From 1847 to 1870, about 1,180 Madeirans arrived in Saint Kitts. When their terms of indenture expired, however, many remained rather than return to Madeira, often opening small shops in Kittitian towns.” These were “unemployed farm laborers, [who] looked to the West Indies for employment and a better life.” https://cornerofgenealogy.com/madeirans-in-st-kitts/
Minister Douglas is expected to have similar engagements before the week culminates.