This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 000151
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL ECON EU HA XM XL GY UN SUBJECT: GUYANA ASSUMES CHAIR OF RIO GROUP
REF: GEORGETOWN 30
1. (U) SUMMARY. Guyana has assumed chairmanship of the Rio Group from Argentina. At the handing over ceremony FonMin Insanally emphasized that the group will focus on democracy and human rights, poverty alleviation, and multilateralism under Guyana's stewardship. Guyana has a proud history of leadership in international fora, but this role will tax its diplomatic resources in 2006. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) Guyana assumed chairmanship of the Rio Group at a January 20 ceremony in Georgetown. Guyana has represented CARICOM in the group since 1998. Argentine Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Moritan and Dominican Foreign Minister Troncoso also attended the ceremony. FonMin Insanally highlighted key issues on the Rio Group's 2006 agenda in his remarks at the handing over ceremony.
- Democracy and human rights. The group will focus on consolidating democracy, with Haiti singled out for particular attention. Insanally said the group must remain vigilant against the continued proliferation of threats to hemishperic peace and stability.
- Poverty. The group will work to alleviate poverty by promoting economic and social development through areas such as free and fair trade, development financing, and protection of the environment.
- Multilateral relations. The group will work to strengthen multilateralism as the basis of international relations. On the topic of UN reform, Insanally said "it is imperative that we collaborate fully to ensure that there in no prejudice to our shared interests and that fundamental provisions of the charter are respected."
3. (U) As chair, Guyana will host the Rio Group's twentieth heads of state and government summit later in 2006. Guyana will also be heavily involved in preparations for the May EU- LAC summit Vienna between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean. Key ambassadors in Guyana's diplomatic initiative as group chair are Cheryl Miles in Brasilia, Dr. Odeen Ishmael in Caracas, Bayney Karran at the OAS, and Dr. P. I. Gomes at the EU.
4. (SBU) Comment. The Stabroek News published a February 9 editorial that likened Guyana's status vis-a-vis the Rio Group chairmanship to a hangover -- "one that lingers accompanied by the very sobering and worrying thought of 'Good Lord! What have I done?'". Chairing the group is certainly a feather in the GoG's cap during election year, but it is a tall order for the understaffed Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). In conversations with PolOff, MFA officials have confirmed this impression, revealing that summit preparations are consuming much of their time. Given FonMin Insanally's other obligations as Guyana's PermRep to the UN and the MFA's thin ranks, this will be a challenging but potentially rewarding year for Guyana's international relations. End Comment.