News

PM attends Caracas summit

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 18, 2013    

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PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller was expected to return home last night after attending a PetroCaribe Heads of Government meeting in Caracas, Venezuela.

Jamaica House said that Simpson Miller, who was accompanied by Dr Carlton Davis, senior adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister, along with support and security staff, was expected to join Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell who was already in Venezuela attending ministerial meetings.

However, the Latin American press, including Prensa Latina, reported Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua as confirming that the PetroCaribe energy integration bloc was meeting in Caracas to discuss the creation of a regional economic zone.

"At a press conference (December 12), Jaua said the meeting, scheduled for December 17, would also make it possible to advance toward the conclusion of a mechanism between that bloc and the Common Market of the South (Mercosur)," Prensa Latina reported.

Prensa Latina also reported that yesterday's meeting was for the establishment of the Eco-ALBA Constitutive Treaty, and the setting up of an economic zone between both integrationist entities.

"Maybe, we are already in conditions to sign the Eco-ALBA Constitutive Treaty, which is the economic space of our alliance, and strengthen the setting up of the economic zone with PetroCaribe," the Venezuelan foreign minister was quoted as saying.

The seventh Summit of Heads of State and Governments of PetroCaribe was held in Caracas in May. Venezulean President Nicolas Maduro announced during that summit that, after Venezuela assumed pro-tempore presidency of the South Common Market (Mercosur) on July 12, other initiatives would be proposed to consolidate a larger economic and social development zone in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Venezuelan president, according to Prensa Latina, also stressed the need to gather the efforts of PetroCaribe, Mercosur, and ALBA, which would involve 24 countries in a significant integration platform.

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