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Guyana president to attend UN and Arab-South America meetings
Published on September 21, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar will for the first time address the UN General Assembly on September 27 since taking office in Georgetown and shortly after that he will travel to Peru at the end of September to participate in the third Arab South American Summit from October 1 – 2, according to the Peruvian charge d’affaires to Kuwait, Gustavo Bravo on Tuesday during an interview with the Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA).

The Guyana foreign ministry has not yet made public the makeup of the Guyanese delegations to these meetings. However, the Guyana Mission to the UN and a spokesman at the Embassy of Peru in Washington have both confirmed Ramotar’s participation.

The volatile situation in the Middle East since the Arab Spring will keep many leaders home. Uncertain and pre-occupied with domestic issues, most Arab leaders will be represented in Peru at the prime ministerial and foreign ministerial levels.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani; the King of Jordan, Abdullah II; the presidents of Lebanon, Palestine, and Tunisia -- Michel Sulaiman, Mahmoud Abbas, and Moncef Marzouki; and the prime minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al Hamad Al Sabah, will be in Peru.

South America’s strongman Hugo Chavez, facing a tough electoral fight at home, may skip the summit in Peru. Suriname’s Desi Bouterse will stay home to present his budget to the National Assembly that is constitutionally due on October 1.

Argentina’s President Christina Fernandez, Brazil’s Delma Rousseff, Uruguay’s Jose Mujica and Ecuador’s Raphael Correa will attend the summit in Peru.

Parallel to the head of states summit, there will be an Arab-South American business forum, according to Peru’s deputy foreign minister, Jose Beraun. A meeting of over 400 Arab and South American business leaders is expected in Lima and a meeting of representatives of the Arab Investment Fund is also being organized by the Inter American Development Bank.

Host country Peru recently opened three embassies in the Middle East to expand commercial ties with the region. Guyana has also sought to expand ties with the Middle East and South America with the opening of an embassy in Kuwait; membership in UNASUR and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Argentina recently reopened its embassy in Guyana and there have been high-level visits between Guyana and its South American neighbours, unheard of a decade ago.
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