OECS Director General Dr. Len Ishmael accepted Letters of Credence from France’s first Ambassador to the OECS, His Excellency Michel Prom at a ceremony which took place on Tuesday June 8th at the Headquarters of the OECS. While OECS Member States and France have enjoyed a rich history of cooperation and cordial relations in the past, today’s ceremony marks a new chapter in that relationship.
In accepting the Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of France the Director General noted that France has engaged the region in cooperation programmes in the past, facilitated by the very close relationship between OECS Member States and the region’s French Departments of the Americas (DFA’s), particularly Martinique and Guadeloupe. Previous areas of cooperation included: the promotion of joint ventures, trade and investment, health sector reform, the promotion of multi-destination tourism, infrastructure development, and more recently, areas such as mutual legal assistance and support for the rule of law. In this regard, the Director General conveyed the profound thanks of the Governments and people of the OECS for the tremendous benefits which had accrued, and expressed the intention to continue to build on, and intensify cooperation in these important spheres.
The Director General pointed to France’s global stature in economic, political and cultural terms, and noted that its decision to appoint an Ambassador to the OECS represented a major vote of confidence in the Organsation and its future.
For his part, the French Ambassador considered himself most honoured to have been appointed France’s first ambassador to the OECS. He assured the Director General that France was looking forward to pursuing new areas of cooperation with the OECS, and to a strengthening of the relationship between the two sides.
According to the Ambassador, France recognizes that the OECS has undergone a commendable and successful process of regional integration over the last thirty years. In that regard, France was of the view that the new OECS Treaty is a critical step to achieving the much desired deepening of the integration process. Based on its integration experience within Europe, France is of the view that cooperation and solidarity are vital if countries are to effectively address global challenges such as poverty reduction, climate change, and energy security among others. It was in that regard that the Ambassador saw great significance in the decision by his country to establish diplomatic relations with the OECS..
In closing, the Ambassador assured the OECS that in his new capacity, he will honour France’s aim to provide every support within its means, to the development aspirations of the OECS.
France has now become the sixth country to establish diplomatic relations with the OECS, and the fourth European Union member to do so.