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PM holds high level talks with Heads of State

PM holds high level talks with Heads of State

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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has updated the nation on a series of high level meetings that he held with several heads of state while at the recent General Assembly meeting of the United Nations.{{more}}

Gonsalves left the state on Friday, September 17, for the United Nations, and returned on Saturday, September 25.

While in the United States, he held discussions with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on matters of the Association of Small Island States, which specifically dealt with climate change and development.

Gonsalves disclosed that he also held bilateral discussions with José Sócrates, Prime Minister of Portugal; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran; Mizengo Pinda, Prime Minister of Tanzania, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, one of the richest Persian Gulf states.

He said he also met and held informal discussions with a number of other persons, including José Ramos-Horta, President of East Timor; Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and Ali-Ben Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon.

Gonsalves said he also met with the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Kevin Rudd, and South Africa, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The members of the Prime Minister’s delegation met the Foreign Ministers of Finland, Morocco and Serbia.

Additionally, they participated in meetings of ALBA, the Alliance of Small Island States, CARICOM, the Commonwealth, the Non Alligned Movement, and the Rio Group.

“I attended meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative. I held less formal discussions with several world leaders at seperate events hosted by President [Barack] Obama and former President Bill Clinton,” said Gonsalves.

Speaking of the friendships that he has built over the years, he said: “After a while you’re on the international circuit and you make yourself known to people and you have a presence, people hail you up from wherever you are.

“I am walking going in the General Assembly, I didn’t see the Prime Minister of Canada, he was surrounded by security people, he shouted ‘Ralph, how is everything in St.Vincent?’. I said ‘My brother, it’s a long time we haven’t seen.’ We embraced, we talked for a while.

“I go to lunch with the Heads, with the Secretary General, Hillary Clinton is passing, she say ‘Hi ma man’ and she give me a high five and she opened her hand, I slap it, she slap my hand back,” said Gonsalves, noting that in this world, one has to be friendly with everyone.

The Prime Minister said he would not go to an event and expect people to come to him; he’ll approach them.(HN)

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