Cuba, Caricom to strengthen ties

December 5th, 2008 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Havana, Dec 5 (Prensa Latina) A summit meeting of the leaders of Cuba and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries will be held here next week aiming at building closer ties. The Dec 8 summit of the 15-nation grouping would also focus on “implementation of gradual reforms including encouragement to private-sector business initiatives”, a Caricom secretariat release said Wednesday.

High on agenda are economic integration, coordination of the member states’ foreign policy, common services and cooperation in the region.

Caricom countries established diplomatic relations with Havana in 1972, ignoring the US policy of isolating the communist-ruled island state.

The leaders will address the global financial crisis and discuss the region’s preparedness to face it. Also on the agenda are energy and food situations and the impact of global warming on the economy of the region.

The Cricom summit is expected to invite Cuban leader and former president Fidel Castro as a special guest in recognition of his contribution to the region’s fight against colonialism.

The major activities of the Caricom involve coordinating economic policies and development planning, devising and instituting special projects for the less-developed countries within its jurisdiction and operating as a regional common market for many of its members (Caricom Single Market).

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