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Thursday, July 27 2017 @ 08:44 AM AST

Spain's foreign minister visits Trinidad & Tobago

Spain's Foreign Affairs Minister José Manuel García-Margallo is in Trinidad and Tobago to strengthen ties with the Caribbean Community (Caricom) as it musters support for its candidacy to the UN Security Council.

He reportedly met with his counterpart, Winston Dookeran yesterday evening, and this morning (Monday, May 19) he will meet with business people to encourage bilateral trade.

On Monday evening, he will attend a working dinner with the government of T&T.

His visit comes one month after Spain's Ambassador to T&T José María Fernández López de Turiso presented his credentials to Caricom, with which Spain had signed its first cooperation agreement in 1999.

Since then, Spain has contributed US$20.4 million to Caricom, making it one of the top 10 donors to the Caricom fund.

Fernández López de Turiso was quoted as saying that if the bilateral contributions Spain has made to individual Caricom member countries were to be added to the US$20.4 million, Spain would turn out to be one of the main development partners in the region.

On Tuesday, García-Margallo will travel to Guyana to take part in the 7th meeting of Cofcor, a foreign affairs council for Caricom countries.

In Guyana, he will meet Guyana's foreign affairs minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque, and attend the third Caricom-Spain mixed commission.

Spain's foreign minister is also expected to ask for Caricom's support of its candidacy to the Security Council for the period 2015 to 2016. That decision will be taken in October this year.

In courting Caricom, Ambassador Fernández López de Turiso has promised that from its seat on the UN Security Council, Spain will look out for its friends in the Caribbean and be "a loyal defender" of Caribbean interests.

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