BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 16, 2022 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Earlier today (Wednesday, February 16, 2022), Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris welcomed officials from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – led by His Excellency Ahmed Alkhateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Saudi Fund for Development – to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The purpose of H.E. Ahmed Alkhateeb’s visit was to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s bilateral relations with St. Kitts and Nevis, and to seek the Federation’s support for Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo. Saudi Arabia is among five other countries, namely: Ukraine (Odesa), Italy (Rome), the Republic of Korea (Busan) and the Russian Federation (Moscow), vying to host the major event in 2030.
In brief discussions held at the Ministry of Finance Conference Room, Prime Minister Harris thanked H.E. Ahmed Alkhateeb and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for taking steps towards strengthening its relationship with St. Kitts and Nevis and the wider Caribbean region.
As it relates to its bid to host the 2030 World Expo, Prime Minister Harris said the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis will thoroughly examine Saudi Arabia’s proposal, and those of the other countries, and in time, make an informed recommendation.
“We are aware that Saudi Arabia has done very good work – and we will take this of course into consideration – in terms of assisting a number of countries, a number of States with respect to their agenda for development and, in fact, has provided over time low cost financing which is important especially for many of our countries in the region which have high debts. It is very difficult to go to the commercial market in terms of lending, and so we look for concessional financing to assist, and of course grants,” Prime Minister Harris said.
The honourable prime minister also used the meeting with His Excellency Ahmed Alkhateeb to reaffirm St. Kitts and Nevis’ interest in entering into a visa waiver agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the easement of travel for citizens.
Prime Minister Harris was supported in today’s meeting by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Skerritt.
St. Kitts and Nevis and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations on May 29, 2016. -30-