Gonsalves on Lybia
According to a report from I-Witness News, Gonsalves who was at the time speaking at a press briefing on Monday, 28th February, said there was no reason for Kingstown to cut diplomatic ties with Tripoli as some sections of the Vincentian population have suggested.
Dr Gonsalves also said that his administration did not break relations with Egypt, where protest action, which began on 25th January, forced from office the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
This media house was informed that the Housing and Land Development Corporation in the capital Kingstown Monday 21st February received from Tripoli, for hurricane recovery, EC$667,500 (US$250,000), which the main opposition New Democratic Party has described as “blood money”.
Gonsalves said the hurricane aid funds were secured long before the uprising began.
He further said that the United States and Britain have not severed links with Libya although the Americans have frozen the assets of Gaddafi and his family and British Petroleum have strong business links with the country.
“They (Gaddafi and his family) don’t have any assets here,” he added.
Gonsalves said that while his administration is concerned about the developments in Libya, with which Kingstown has warm relations, his government was also in communication with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as CARICOM prepared to issue a joint statement on behalf of the member states of the regional bloc.
“I look at the unfolding events … in Libya with more than great disquiet. No one can support the killing of innocent protestors,” he said.
“You have in Libya what is evolving as a virtual civil war and we in CARICOM, and certainly we in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we said let us work together as one on this. … I know we (CARICOM) were all moving on the same page to issue a condemnatory statement in the way in which it has been issued,” Gonsalves added.
Meanwhile, CARICOM leaders at their just concluded summit in Grenada called for peace in the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of a wave of anti-regime uprising sweeping the Arab world.
“The Community calls for an immediate end to the violence and looks forward to a resolution of the situation through dialogue and actions which would allow the free exercise of the fundamental human rights by the people of that Region,” the leaders said in a statement.
Regional heads said they have observed with grave concern, the recent developments which have been sparked by the desire of the people of that Region for change.
“Very often in international relations, there are some black and white positions which are taken and sometimes there are greater subtleties and shades which have to be accommodated,” Gonsalves said.
He further said that his government is in daily contact with its ambassador to the United Nations as it monitors the developments in North Africa.
“…we are an enemy of nobody and we are friends of everybody. That is how we seek to use our foreign policy to enhance our capacity to deal more capably with our external environment in the interest of our people — but to do so against the backdrop and upon the platform of the principles laid out by the Charter of the United Nations and our respect for democracy, independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty, human rights,” Dr Gonsalves stated.
He added that a violation of these principles by a state does not mean that St. Vincent and the Grenadines should not have relations with that government.