By Julie Carrington
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- The government of Argentina appears set on re-opening an embassy in Barbados 22 years after it was closed; and this prospect has the blessing of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, whose administration has been working for its return.
This was revealed during a courtesy call by Argentina's new ambassador to Barbados, Marcelo Aldo Salviolo, on Stuart this week.
The planned restoration of the embassy and stepped-up technical cooperation in agriculture and business development were central to talks, with the prime minister observing that those two would deepen long-standing ties between the two countries.
He pointed out that the embassy was opened in 1987 but closed in 1990 and he congratulated the ambassador for taking the lead in seeking to have it re-opened.
"That [reopening of the Embassy] should certainly deepen the relationship between the two countries as we continue to work closer together in the Organization of American States and the recently established Community of Latin American and Caribbean States," Stuart underlined.
The prime minister noted that both countries supported each other in international fora, which served to fortify "the solid foundation and the very strong relationship that had been built over the years".
Stuart mentioned Argentina's strong economic performance despite the ongoing global recession, and added that the performance augured well for the continued enrichment of the Caribbean and Latin American region.
In the area of technical cooperation, Salviolo alluded to training in agricultural science, building capacity for craftsmen, clothing and leather craft design as areas to solidify the relationship.
Earlier in the day, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Maxine McClean, also held discussions with Salviolo.
During that meeting, the minister said CARICOM had recommitted to forging stronger relationships with the countries of South and Central America, adding that "the developments in the region and the hemisphere are important for us".
McClean also got an update on the negotiations for an air services agreement with Argentina from Salviolo, who disclosed that the process was being worked on.
In the area of disaster relief, the Argentinean envoy said his country's White Helmets Commission, a humanitarian and peacekeeping agency, had lent assistance to Grenada after the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and to St Vincent after Hurricane Tomas in 2010.
"Argentina is ready to assist in this regard. We have medical doctors and a lot of professionals and experts who can lend assistance," Salviolo said.
Argentina and Barbados established diplomatic ties back in 1968.