Published On: Fri, May 1st, 2015

Koenders strengthens ties Caribbean part of Kingdom and Latin American partners

KoendersTHE HAGUE, WILLEMSTAD – The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders will visit the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom and three Latin American countries in the region from May 4 till the following Monday. He will be successively visiting Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Cuba, Guatemala and Mexico.

During the Minister’s visit he will pay much attention to developments in Latin America and the Caribbean. This region is of strategic importance for the Kingdom, including through cooperation on political issues and in multilateral fora. Latin America also offers many economic opportunities for the Netherlands and the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom, with large export from and to the Netherlands and investment in the region. Visits to these countries also provide opportunities to strengthen political relations with the region and determine joint course and opportunities.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs for the whole Kingdom, Koenders, along with the other countries, interprets foreign relations. In addition to bilateral visit to the three islands he will also have a consultation with the three Prime Ministers, the Kingdom Consultations Foreign Relations. On each island he will talk separately with, among others, the governor and the Prime Minister. Topics that will be discussed include regional developments, the UN Security Council candidacy and economic cooperation.

Minister Koenders continues his trip to Cuba, where he will visit his Cuban counterpart Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, who has visited The Hague for the first time last Friday. The Netherlands acts as a bridge towards Cuba. The countries concluded earlier agreements in which both countries want more decisions to work together. The Netherlands and Cuba have the intention to cooperate in the fields of trade, agriculture, water management, biotechnology, strengthen regional cooperation and multilateral cooperation in the field of human rights and human rights instruments. Recent international developments offer new opportunities for investments, even for Dutch businesses.

Then, the Minister will visit Guatemala, with which the Netherlands, in general, and Minister Koenders, in particular, has a long relationship. In recent years the relationship with Guatemala has changed economically and politically. The Netherlands has, in its relationship with Guatemala, greater attention to safety, access to justice and human rights, specifically the Commission against Impunity (CICIG) and the position of human rights defenders. Guatemala is also an emerging economy. These are important conditions for good economic development and cooperation. Opportunities are also being investigated on how to increase cooperation in a multilateral context.

The Minister will conclude his trip in Mexico, with which the Netherlands wants to work together more closely economically and in terms of security. The visit provides excellent opportunity for intensification of relations in the light of the bilateral trade interests and opportunities for cooperation on security grounds, for example on issues such as international drug control and peacekeeping missions. The Netherlands and Mexico are natural partners that reinforce each other's efforts in a multilateral framework. Mexico is next year's chairman of the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), while the Netherlands, at the same time, will hold the EU presidency in the first half of 2016.

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