Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 15, 2021 (SKNIS): Argentine Special Envoy, Former Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Gustavo Martinez Pandiani, met with St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley, to discuss bilateral issues and regional matters on September 8, 2021, at the RLB International Airport.
Mr. Pandiani, who is currently the Director of Caribbean Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Argentina, considered the meeting a productive one.
“We were able to discuss a wide range of cooperation projects that we are starting together with our friends of the CARICOM Community, including St. Kitts and Nevis,” Director Pandiani said.
One of the bilateral projects includes a soil and water recovery project with GIZ, a German service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work. Director Pandiani said that the project is to be put in place shortly.
The other project is a phytosanitary certification project in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture(IICA).
“We developed in Argentina electronic certification which is a convenient way to certify your agricultural products for exports, so we are going to transfer that technology to St. Kitts and Nevis and all the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) countries as well,” Director Pandiani said.
On regional matters of importance, the Argentine Special Envoy said that “Argentina’s commitment to the Caribbean is permanent and strong” while mentioning that his government sent a humanitarian aid mission to the Republic of Haiti in the aftermath of the recent devastating earthquake in the poorest country economically in the Western Hemisphere.
“Argentina sent a military plane with personnel, medical staff, and a mobile hospital to help the CARICOM country of Haiti after the earthquake,” Special Envoy Pandiani said.
He also said that the Argentine government assisted the Republic of Cuba with supplies of oxygen.
“We are doing the same with Cuba because they had a problem with oxygen. Apparently, they’re running out of oxygen in the middle of the pandemic because their oxygen plant is not working properly, so we sent support there as well,” he said.
Additionally, he said that Argentina sent COVID-19 test kits to the OECS Secretariat in Saint Lucia to be distributed among member countries of the OECS in the fight against COVID-19.
Director Pandiani said that the bilateral talks also included CELAC (The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), a regional bloc of 32 sovereign countries of Latin American and Caribbean States thought out on February 23, 2010, at the Rio Group-Caribbean Community Unity Summit, and created on December 3, 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela, with the signature of the Declaration of Caracas.
CELAC is a “very important regional mechanism we treasure a lot because basically, it is the only forum that Latin America and the Caribbean have to meet without any exclusions. Since some countries are not participating in the OAS (Organization of American States), we try to build up a very strong CELAC so that everybody has the opportunity to participate there as well,” he said.
Importantly, Director Pandiani is seeking support for his country’s bid as Pro-Tempore President of CELAC.
“We are planning to postulate Argentina as the next President after Mexico so we are here to explain our project and what we want to achieve. We want to hear the priorities and concerns of our Caribbean brothers and sisters on issues such as climate change, economic recovery, technical cooperation on agricultural matters, human rights and democracy,” he said.
Director Pandiani said that the Caribbean and Latin America must be more than just a geographical link but that he would like to see more of a cultural and political connection.
“We have to know each other a little better; we need to understand our cultures and languages a little better, to know our music, to know our art, and that’s what I would like to see achieved,” he said.
He said he looks forward to strengthening and deepening the bilateral cooperation between the Republic of Argentina and St. Kitts and Nevis.
“St. Kitts and Nevis is a very strong country. It leads by example and it leads by values and we want to protect our friendship and our commitment with Basseterre,” Special Envoy Pandiani said.