Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks during a joint news conference following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica Kamina Johnson Smith, Moscow, July 16, 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our discussion was meaningful, held in a very constructive and positive atmosphere.
We discussed topical items on the bilateral and international agendas, paying special attention to the situation with integration associations in Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of their relations with the Russian Federation.
Of course, we also discussed Venezuela. It is in our interests that the government and the opposition agree on overcoming the ongoing crisis as soon as possible. We welcome the ongoing talks within the “Oslo process.”
The Russian Federation is satisfied with the way its relations with Jamaica are developing. During the talks, we reaffirmed our mutual commitment to maintaining a political dialogue, including through holding regular ministerial-level meetings. In particular, these meetings can be held annually on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. We share an understanding on the need to revitalise the mechanism of consultations at the foreign ministry level that was put in place but is not used as frequently as we would like. The last time these consultations took place was in 2015 in Kingston. We asked our colleagues to indicate when it would suit them to hold another round of talks, which we would like to host in the Russian Federation.
We talked about ways of expediting the ongoing review of a number of draft treaties and agreements to strengthen our contractual legal framework.
We also discussed economic cooperation. This lies at the core of our relations. On a positive note, we noted the operations of RUSAL, a Russian company, that is one of the leaders in the Jamaican market for bauxite and alumina extraction. It has been contributing to the development of the island’s economy for more than a decade now in the cattle breeding sector, as well as in the aluminium industry. During today’s talks, our colleagues reaffirmed their commitment to resolving matters so that the company can invest more in the Jamaican economy.
There is a lot of potential for undertaking new economic, investment, education and cultural projects. The intergovernmental visa waiver agreement was enacted in November 2018. Madame Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica Kamina Johnson Smith and I signed it in September 2018 in New York, and it came into force very quickly, proving to be a good incentive for expanding ties in tourism, as well as business, educational and humanitarian exchanges. The number of Russian nationals visiting Jamaica increased substantially after the agreement came into force. I strongly believe that Jamaica will be one of the most attractive destinations for Russian tourists travelling to Latin America and the Caribbean.
We welcome the participation of Jamaican experts in professional training courses for law enforcement officers offered by the educational centres affiliated with Russia’s Interior Ministry both in Russian and in Latin America, where regional career enhancement sessions are held. We also highlighted the opportunities offered by the Regional Russia-Cuba Centre for Training Firefighters and Rescue Workers that is headquartered in Havana. At the same time, we once again invited Jamaican diplomats to take part in the special courses offered by the Diplomatic Academy of Russia’s Foreign Ministry for staff members of Latin American foreign ministries.
We also discussed the future of cooperation on foreign policy matters, including within the UN. Our colleagues have a track record of supporting the main initiatives Russia promotes within the UN, including efforts to prevent the glorification of Nazism, preventing an arms race in space, furthering confidence-building measures in space, information security and fighting cybercrime. Our Jamaican colleagues have been supportive of all these initiatives by the Russian Federation.
All in all, I can assure you without any doubt that during these talks it was reaffirmed that Jamaica is a promising partner for Russia in the Caribbean sub-region. We hope to be able to further step up bilateral ties and promote our relations based on the principles of friendship, consideration for each other’s interests and pragmatism. Next year we will mark 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Madame Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica Kamina Johnson Smith and I agreed to make arrangements to mark this anniversary.