NEW YORK – St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has formalised diplomatic relations with Moldova, Serbia, and the Solomon Islands.
Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves signed the necessary instruments in New York with the countries’ respective ambassador to the United Nations.
The establishment of diplomatic relations is a key pillar of the foreign policy of SVG, which, as a small country, seeks to increase its diplomatic space by building beneficial relationships with countries around the world, SVG’s UN mission said in a press statement.
“In addition to Africa, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been concentrating on building relationships with Gulf States, Eastern European countries, and other small island states,” the statement said.
The Republic of Moldova, a country of fewer than 4 million people, is located in Eastern Europe. Moldova declared its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. The country’s US$11 billion GDP is based on services, tourism, agriculture and its well-known wine industry. Moldova is going through the steps to become a candidate for membership of the European Union.
Ambassador Alexandru Cujba, the permanent representative of Moldova to the United Nations, said that, as small countries with economies based on services, agriculture, and tourism, Moldova and SVG have many issues on which they could cooperate for the mutual benefit of both countries. He suggested that technical cooperation, as well as coordination of activities at the United Nations, could be a good basis for solidifying the relations between both nations.
Feodor Starcevic, the permanent representative of Serbia to the United Nations signed the documents on behalf of his nation. Serbia was formerly a part of Yugoslavia and, like Moldova, aspires to membership in the European Union.
Serbia has a population of about 7.5 million people, and a GDP of US$85 billion. The Serbian economy is the fastest-growing in the region, and is based on services, industry and agriculture. Serbia has been an increasingly attractive destination for foreign direct investment. Major companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, Microsoft, Siemens and US Steel have recently begun operating in the country.
The country is recovering from the devastating war with Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the continuing dispute over the independence of Kosovo. In late May, Serbian authorities arrested accused war criminal Ratko Mladic and turned him over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Gonsalves told the Serbian envoy that SVG was heartened by Serbia’s commitment to bringing accused criminals to justice, as well as their peaceful negotiation of its dispute with Kosovo. Gonsalves saw ample areas for cooperation between Serbia and SVG, particularly in the areas of agriculture, technical support and education. The two ambassadors pledged to explore other avenues of cooperation between the two countries.
The Solomon Islands, like SVG, is an archipelago of small islands. The Solomon Islands are located in the Pacific ocean, and have a population of 500,000. Ambassador Gonsalves, in signing diplomatic relations with Ambassador Colin Beck, pointed out the many similarities between the two nations. Both are small, multi island states, members of the Commonwealth, and affected by climate change.
Gonsalves also said that both nations maintain strong relationships with Taiwan, and have similar interests and perspectives on a number of global issues.
Ambassador Beck said that while the two countries were just formalising their relations, he was proud of the solidarity and cooperation that they had already displayed in a variety of ares at the United Nations. He expressed the hope that the leaders of SVG and the Solomon Islands would have the opportunity to collaborate more closely on matters of mutual interest.