Pacific Islands Can Always Count on Cuba, Foreign Ministry Says

Havana, Aug 30 (Prensa Latina) The small island states of the Pacific will always be able to count on the friendship and support of Cuba, affirmed the Director of Asia and Oceania Department of the Foreign Ministry of the Caribbean country, Alberto Blanco.

In statements published by the digital portal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the official said that geographic distance and cultural and language differences have not prevented collaboration with these countries, which he described as ‘an example of South-South cooperation.’

We currently have diplomatic ties with the 14 small island states of the South Pacific and in May 2017 our diplomatic mission was opened in Suva, Fiji; with a presence in 11 Pacific Islands, he explained.

Blanco made his comments on the participation of Cuba in the 49th Pacific Islands Forum, which Nauru will host from September 3 to 6, with a delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra.

According to the diplomat, the presence of Cuban medical brigades in that region, in Kiribati, Vanuatu and Nauru, stands out among the samples of close links with the Pacific.

We are pleased to affirm that 101 young people from the Pacific Islands are currently studying in Cuban universities, while 153 have already graduated in our country in recent years, 151 of which graduated from the medical career, demonstrating the spirit of solidarity, he stressed.

According to Blanco, another example of good links is in the visits made to the Caribbean nation by heads of State and Government of the region.

Regarding common coincidences and challenges, the director of Asia and Oceania Department of the Foreign Ministry mentioned the challenges of climate change, protectionism, and inequalities.

Cuba has spoken on more than one occasion in defense of the rights of developing countries and, in particular, of small island states, which risk being buried by the sea as a consequence of climate change, he added.

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