Cuba to attend Pacific Islands Forum, region can always count on Cuba, says foreign ministry


A Cuban delegation headed by deputy foreign minister Rogelio Sierra will participate at the 49th Pacific Islands Forum next week in Nauru, the foreign ministry announced.

According to a press statement official will have the opportunity to exchange experiences on the common challenges that the Caribbean country shares with these nations due to their status as a small island State; and they will hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the States of the region.

The forum is the main event of the Pacific region, which brings together 14 small islands, as well as observers and dialogue partners, a condition that Cuba has held since 2013.

The objective of this annual meeting is to coordinate positions among Pacific members on economic and cooperation issues, as well as actions to reduce the effects of climate change and prevent and mitigate climate disasters.

The small island states of the Pacific will always be able to count on the friendship and support of Cuba, affirmed the Director of Asia and Oceania Department of the Foreign Ministry of the Caribbean country, Alberto Blanco.

In statement, Blanco said that geographic distance and cultural and language differences have not prevented collaboration with these countries, which he described as ‘an example of South-South cooperation.’

“We currently have diplomatic ties with the 14 small island states of the South Pacific and in May 2017 our diplomatic mission was opened in Suva, Fiji; with a presence in 11 Pacific Islands, he explained.

According to the diplomat, the presence of Cuban medical brigades in the region, in Kiribati, Vanuatu and Nauru, stands out among the samples of close links with the Pacific.

“We are pleased to affirm that 101 young people from the Pacific Islands are currently studying in Cuban universities, while 153 have already graduated in our country in recent years, 151 of which graduated from the medical career, demonstrating the spirit of solidarity,” he stressed.

According to Blanco, another example of good links is in the visits made to the Caribbean nation by heads of State and Government of the region.

Regarding common coincidences and challenges, the director of Asia and Oceania Department of the foreign ministry mentioned the challenges of climate change, protectionism, and inequalities.

Cuba has spoken on more than one occasion in defence of the rights of developing countries and, in particular, of small island states, which risk being buried by the sea as a consequence of climate change, he added.