Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 21, 2018 (SKNIS): The Government of National Unity has a mandate to expand its diplomatic footprint by building new relationships with new countries and enhancing its human capital, says Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley during a recent sitting of Parliament on December 18, 2018.

Minister Brantley reported that the Cabinet has decided that it is time to upgrade the consulate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE is a country in Western Asia at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, as well as sharing maritime borders with Qatar to the west and Iran to the north. The sovereign absolute monarchy is a federation of seven emirates consisting of Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain.

The foreign minister said that eight years ago St. Kitts and Nevis and the UAE formalized relations. Two years later, the consulate was opened. He added that the government believes that it is time to upgrade the consulate to an embassy to be established in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, as the UAE has great potential for investment and vast opportunities for cooperation.

“Just last month a large delegation left St. Kitts and Nevis and travelled to Dubai where we attended the first ever UAE-Caribbean Forum and that forum provided a wonderful platform for us to engage with ministers there and to talk about cooperation moving forward. We are one of the fastest growing regions in the world.”

The minister said that thousands of citizens access consulate services at the consulate that is currently in Dubai.

“We believe that it is important to maintain this contact with our citizens while at the same time strengthening our diplomatic ties with the UAE,” he said.

Also, in an effort to expand the country’s diplomatic footprint, the government has started the process of having its ambassadors accredited to multiple places.

“I mentioned Her Excellency Jasmine Huggins; she is now not only our ambassador to Republic of China (Taiwan), but also Ambassador to Japan. We will be shortly looking at other countries in Latin America in particular where we can do similar multiple accreditations and allow us through that to expand our footprint in a cost effective way,” said Minister Brantley.