Foreign Affairs Minister, Francine Baron, has called for the lifting of the trade embargo against Cuba and has praised Venezuela for its assistance to Dominica over the past decade.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Saturday, she also called for a diplomatic solution to the war in Syria, the elimination of the nuclear capabilities of North Korea and urgent work to be done to defeat global terrorism.
She said both Cuba and Venezuela have had a significant impact on the island over the years.
“Countries such as Venezuela and Cuba continue to make durable and significant impact on the healthcare, education, and energy landscape of Dominica,” she said, adding that Cuba can make an even greater contribution to the region and the world once the economic embargo is lifted.
“Dominica is encouraged by the recent improvements in relations between the Republic of Cuba and the United States of America,” Baron stated. “We applaud President Obama’s initiative as progressive and worthy of international support. The critical next step, however, should be the removal of all other impediments to true trade and economic activities so that Cuba can fully benefit from the international trading and financial systems.”
In July 2015, diplomatic relations were restored between Cuba and the United States after over five decades of severed ties. Obama travelled to Cuba in March 2016. He was the first sitting US President to visit the island since Calvin Coolidge, in 1928. He called on the US Congress to lift the embargo, which he described as the “last remnants of the Cold War.”
In terms of Venezuela, Baron said at the UN General Assembly that the South American country has been Dominica’s reliable partner in development.
“Mr. President even in the face of their own domestic challenges, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela continues to be a reliable partner in development,” she stated. “Our partnership with the Bolivarian Republic, especially over the last decade, has contributed significantly to our own tangible achievements under the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) to initiatives such as ALBA and Petro Caribe. We look forward to our continued partnership and hope for a peaceful and amicable resolution of its current difficulties. A peaceful and stable hemisphere is in the interest of all of us.”
She expressed Dominica’s concerns over the war in Syria and the nuclear capabilities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), also known as North Korea.
“Mr. President our efforts to save our planet and to improve the lives of billions of people throughout the world who suffer from hunger and starvation and those who continue to be marginalized will be pointless without peace and security,” Baron stated. “The destruction brought about by wars within and between countries continues to displace millions of people from their homes creating an unprecedented refugee crisis. The threat posed by nuclear weapons, especially by the determination of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to develop weapons with the ability to kill millions is a major threat, not only to its neighbours but to people everywhere.”
She stated that the UN must work without hesitation and “take strong and decisive action to pursue diplomatic solutions to end the war in Syria and to eliminate the nuclear capability of the DPRK.”
She argued that all countries must work together with urgency to defeat the threat of global terrorism.
“It is up to us to take the necessary action,” Baron stated.