JAMAICA-POLITICS-Jamaica defends position on Pompeo's visit.

 
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Jamaica Tuesday said that the visit of United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, should not be viewed as divisive, but an opportunity for bi-lateral engagement.

Pompeo, who is on a visit to several countries in Latin America, arrives here later on Tuesday. He has already said that the two-day working visit will allow to meet with 'many Caribbean leaders to discuss how we can all work together to promote our common democratic values and prosperity for all of our people,' adding 'I'm looking forward to a fantastic set of meetings'.

Pompeo said he would also participate in a round table with the foreign ministers of Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.

But Caribbean Community (ARICOM) Chairman and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said last weekend that as chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my Foreign Minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region'.

Her position has been supported by Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

But in a statement ahead of Pompeo's arrival, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith said the talks between Pompeo and some Caribbean foreign ministers are being undertaken largely bilaterally and not within a CARICOM context.

'There is nothing unusual or divisive about such meetings. All countries, large and small, have a sovereign right to engage bilaterally with any other country, beyond any regional or hemispheric...

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