Grenada & Australia to deepen relations

Australia has agreed to set up a consular mission in Grenada.

This was among issues discussed between Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd during a meeting held on Monday, Sept. 20 in New York.

The two officials held talks on the margins of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly which opened last week.

“They will assign someone to deal with diplomatic matters – someone in the capacity of an honorary consul – and this I think again is quite significant,” said Prime Minister Thomas.

He said that they discussed continued support as well as strengthened relations between Grenada and Australia in other areas.

“We discussed several matters but the matter I was keen on discussing with him (Kevin Rudd) was the continued support for the restoration of the Parliament in Grenada,” he said.

“He gave the assurance that nothing has changed.”

The Australian delegation, which also included Philip Green, chief of staff in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided an outline of areas of cooperation between both countries.

“We have a rock solid commitment to deliver assistance to Grenada,” said Green.

Minister Rudd also stated that Australia will look out for the interest of Grenada and other CARICOM countries, especially through the High-Level UN Secretary General panels on climate change and sustainable economic and social development.

“Australia will continue to argue for the integration of CARICOM,” said Rudd. “We look forward to taking our bilateral relationship with Grenada further,” Rudd added. He also said that Australia sees their friends in the Caribbean as important and that his government would continue working to strengthen our relationships.

Australia has committed approximately $100 million to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009, with 25 percent already delivered. The Australians have also supported a Young Diplomats programme, academic scholarships in various subject areas and provided assistance with disaster preparedness and response and sports development.

The Grenada delegation to Monday’s bilateral meeting also included Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Dessima Williams and Gerry Hopkins, advisor to the prime minister.

Accompanying Minister Rudd at the meeting were Green; Peter Baxter, director general of Australia Agency for International Development; Sally Watson, advisor; and Caroline Millar, first assistant secretary and head of UN Security Council Task Force.

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