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Remarks delivered by Major General (Ret’d) The Honourable Edmund Dillon, Minister of National Security performing the duties of the Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs on the occasion of the celebration of the National Day of the Republic of Chile

 Remarks delivered by
Major General (Ret’d) The Honourable Edmund Dillon,
Minister of National Security
performing the duties of the Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs
on the occasion of the celebration of the National Day of
the Republic of Chile,
on Tuesday 20th September, 2016 at the Living Water Community

Good evening everyone,

It is an honour for me to join with you today to commemorate the 206th anniversary of the independence of Chile. It is a pleasure for me to extend on behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, and on my own behalf, congratulatory greetings to the Government and the people of the Republic of Chile on this most significant occasion.

206 years is quite a milestone for any country and Trinidad and Tobago which is still in its youthful years, looks forward to future engagement, more learning experiences and to the deepening of relations with Chile. 

 Chile has truly been an invaluable partner to Trinidad and Tobago over the years. Our countries’ interaction at the bilateral level has been dynamic, active, energetic and diversified. We have seen cooperation in the areas of sport, south-south cooperation, trade, film, e-government and information technology, intellectual property, statistics and in matters concerning the Defence Force. Excellency, this is also a testimony of your creative and innovative thinking in respect of identifying new areas of exchange and potential partnerships. 

Our leaders have also viewed the importance of deepening the bilateral relationship.  In July, 2016, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, met with Her Excellency Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, President of the Republic of Chile, on the margins of the Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held in Guyana, to discuss ways in which the two countries can broaden their engagement.

Excellency, we have also been honoured by the recent invitation of President Bachelet extended to our Prime Minister, to visit Chile in 2017 and we look forward to this visit bearing much fruit.

 Our Foreign Ministers are also expected to engage in discussions on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly which is currently under way in New York. We anticipate on that occasion, the signing of the Agreement on the Exemption from the Visa Requirements for Holders of both Diplomatic and Official Passports, which we can certainly agree, Excellency is good news, as it will greatly facilitate travel for officials from both countries.

It is also anticipated that Trinidad and Tobago and Chile will engage in the III Round of Bilateral Political Consultations to be held in Port of Spain within the upcoming year, during which a number of issues of mutual concern will be discussed.

 On the matter of Agreements, interest has been expressed on both sides in respect of the negotiations for a Partial Scope Trade Agreement which you mentioned, with a focus on energy and we also look forward to progress in the commencement of negotiations.

Excellency, we know that Chile adheres to the view that the policy of cooperation is generated through convergence between Latin America and the Caribbean. Based on this policy, Chile has been very generous in offering training to CARICOM countries and Trinidad and Tobago in particular, has benefited from diplomatic courses, courses for teachers of the Spanish language, courses in public sector management, geospatial technology and even firefighting courses. Trinidad and Tobago is certainly very grateful for the opportunities provided.

On a regional and international level, Trinidad and Tobago and Chile have interacted through structures such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the United Nations (UN). Excellency, we are aware that Chile is committed to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as you are also accredited to a number of CARICOM countries and to CARICOM itself; a heavy portfolio which you bear with distinction.
 
 Excellency, it is my expectation that Trinidad and Tobago and Chile will continue in our commitment to one another; we will deepen our dialogue; intensify our cooperation in various spheres; and share objectives and values as we progress in our journey together.

It is therefore an honour and pleasure on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and on my own behalf, to extend best wishes once again to the Government and people of the Republic of Chile on your National Day. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to invite you to join me in a toast to the Government and People of the Republic of Chile on the occasion of their National Day. 
Thank you very much.

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