US Secretary of State to visit two Caribbean countries

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US Secretary of State to visit two Caribbean countries

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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WASHINGTON (CMC)— The United States Secretary of State, Michael R Pompeo, is scheduled to visit two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries as part of a trip to four countries this week, according to a statement issued by the US State Department.

It said that Pompeo will visit Suriname, Guyana, Brazil and Colombia and will also visit the US state of Texas during the September 17-20 tour.

“This trip will highlight the United States' commitment to defend democracy, combat COVID-19 while revitalising our economies in the pandemic's wake, and strengthen security against regional threats,” the State Department said.

It said that while in Paramaribo,  Pompeo will “celebrate the triumph of democracy by meeting with recently elected Surinamese President Chan Santokhi and his cabinet to discuss increased bilateral cooperation and opportunities for partnerships in energy and security”.

In Guyana, the US Secretary of State “will congratulate newly elected President Irfaan Ali and his cabinet, and meet with Caricom Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque.

“He will reinforce the promise of a values-based US partnership highlighting opportunities for more responsible and transparent private sector investment to increase prosperity for the people of Guyana, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the State Department added.

Pompeo had been critical of the David Granger administration following the disputed March 2 regional and general elections and Washington had threatened to impose stiffer sanctions on the government and other officials if the figures from the national vote recount had not been used to determine and declare the results of the polls.

Granger had said that in April, his administration had turned down a request from Washington to relay the Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcasts to Venezuela, which is preparing to hold elections.

Pompeo will use his trip to Brazil to “underscore the importance of US and Brazilian support for the Venezuelan people in their time of need by visiting with Venezuelan migrants fleeing the man-made disaster in Venezuela”.

Washington and several of its allies have been seeking to remove President Nicolas Maduro from office and is backing the Opposition Leader Juan Guaido. China, Russia and Cuba are among countries backing Maduro.

The statement said that Pompeo's visit to Bogota to meet with Colombian President Ivan Duque will be to discuss the strong partnership “our countries share, including in managing the COVID-19 response, promoting mutual prosperity, and tackling the threats to regional security from narco-traffickers, terror groups, and Maduro's illegitimate regime”.

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