Last update: 01-Aug-2014 6:44 pm
Friday, August 01, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Japan expecting Caricom in full force at summit
The Japanese embassy in T&T says the majority of Caricom leaders are expected to attend the upcoming Japan-Caricom summit in T&T when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits T&T later this month. Caricom’s headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana, says the summit will be a significant event and regional leaders are attending. “Of course, Caricom is attending, it’s Japan, you know,” Caricom secretariat communications director Leonard Robertson said yesterday.
The summit will be held in Port-of-Spain when the Japanese PM visits on July 27 and 28, as part of an 11-day Latin American tour, for talks with regional leaders. During his visit Abe also will meet in T&T with 14 Caribbean regional heads to discuss ways to promote economic co-operation between Japan and the region. Contacted on speculation about the summit, first secretary of the Japanese Embassy in T&T Shoichi Ueda said all leaders of Caricom states have been invited for the summit.
He added: “I will say the majority of leaders will be attending, pending formal confirmation of the invitations being sent.” Ueda said the summit was aimed at deepening relations on trade, energy and other issues of mutual interest including climate change. Robertson, who dismissed talk that the summit was “in chaos,” said: ”It’s early. We are now in the process of inviting leaders but of course Caricom is participating in the summit. “I am not aware leaders are boycotting it. I doubt that they are all blanking it. I don’t see how. It is, after all, Japan, a very significant country, and it is that prime minister’s first visit to the region.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran did not answer calls and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, immediate Caricom chairman who will host the summit, was unavailable to comment on attendance. Government has noted that the current period marked the start of Japan/T&T Friendship Week when the two countries would seek to deepen relations.
T&T is marking 50 years of diplomatic relations with Japan with the visit of a ship from the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force.