Foreign policy focus

by Robert Bazil
Guyana Chronicle
September 6, 1999

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo plans to expand his foreign policy to focus more on economic issues so that not only foreign service officers, but the entire nation, can see what that Guyana is arguing for on the international scene.

"I have spoken to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and we have an engagement where some of the concrete things that we mean when we say economic diplomacy - that they be documented," President Jagdeo said at his maiden press conference on Friday.

The engagement, he said, looks at how Guyana can advance its economic considerations and concerns on the international scene and within the regional bodies in which it has membership.

"I don't have to leave Guyana to expand the country's foreign policy focus," he pointed out.

President Jagdeo also wants to say to the nation, within a few months, that "when we speak about economic diplomacy this is what we mean; these are the types of loans we have mobilised, with maturity periods, the various interest rates, what's applicable to the country."

"...these are the types of grants that we have mobilised, grants without counterpart requirement, in our negotiations at the CARICOM level, the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) level," he added.

The President noted that these are regional positions and positions that Guyana would be advocating for so that not only the foreign service officers would be familiar with these positions, but the nation would see what the country is arguing for within these regional bodies and how they fit into its national development programme.

The foreign policy must be very supportive of Guyana's national economic thrust, but that does not mean that it will deviate from what it had focused on for many years, he said.

Maintaining the territorial integrity of the country and furthering Guyana's political goals around the world will also continue, President Jagdeo reiterated.

Meanwhile, President Jagdeo has said he may be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit later this year in South Africa.

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