Santiago, Chile – (October 24, 2016) Guyana and Chile, today, inked the Open Skies Air Services Agreement and the Reciprocal Visa Abolition Agreement at the Palacio de la Moneda, the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. The Agreements were signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge and Chilean Foreign Minister, Mr. Heraldo Muñoz in the presence of President David Granger and President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, following bilateral talks between the two Heads of State.
The Open Skies Agreement creates the framework for current and future airlines of both Chile and Guyana to explore the option of launching commercial flights that cover the transport of passengers and cargo between the two States. The Visa Abolition Agreement opens the way for visa free travel between citizens of both countries. Both agreements are expected to promote improved travel between Guyana and Chile and other countries in South America in the long term.
These agreements come at a time when Guyana and Chile are working to further solidify relations. President Granger and President Bachelet discussed opportunities for trade, capacity building in telecommunications, geological mapping in the field of mining and environmental management. Speaking after the signing of the Agreements, President Granger said that the discussions open the door for deepening trade cooperation, not just at a Government to Government level, but also among the members of the private sector.
“We have opened the door more widely to trade because the Caribbean is an expanding market; a small but expanding market and in the Caribbean Community, we have what is called the [CARICOM] Single Market and Economy (CSME) and we would like Chile to bring its tremendous experience in agriculture and the production of other goods through agro-processing into the Caribbean,” he said.
The Head of State, who will assume CARICOM Chairmanship in 2017 noted that the deepening of Chile/Guyana relations also contributes to expanded relations between Chile and the regional body. President Bachelet, last July, visited Guyana and attended the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting, held bilateral talks with the Guyanese President and inaugurated the first permanent Embassy of Chile in Guyana.
In a translation of President Bachelet’s remarks at the signing, the Chilean leader said that regional integration is important to the people of Chile and noted that there are several areas of common interest between that country and Guyana. She said that the visit by President Granger is important in furthering the relationship with the Caribbean and Latin America.
Raising the issue of regional safety and security, President Bachelet said that countries in the region must work together to develop responses to the challenges of narcotics trafficking, the reduction of violence and the impact of climate change. She added that Chile is focused on advancing such themes as democracy, promotion of human rights, promotion and defence of human rights.
President Granger met with the Chilean President after participating in a wreath laying ceremony at the Monument of the Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins. He placed a wreath made in the likeness of the Golden Arrowhead and designed with fresh flowers at the monument, which honours Bernardo O’Higgins, a Chilean Independence leader, who is credited with helping to free Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence.
Following the bilateral talks and the signing of the agreements, the President delivered a lecture at the Andres Bello Diplomatic Academy of Chile to 80 Chilean and international students titled, ‘The Caribbean Region as a Zone of Peace’.