Antigua and Barbuda Establishes Diplomatic Relations with the Cook Islands

9th November 2017…  Antigua and Barbuda Establishes Diplomatic Relations with the Cook Islands

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda and the Government of the Cook Islands formalised diplomatic relations during a ceremony at the High Commission of Antigua and Barbuda in London on 9th November 2017.

The High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Karen-Mae Hill and the Foreign Secretary of the Cook Islands Tepaeru Herrmann, signed a joint communique establishing diplomatic relations between the two states.

Following the ceremony, High Commissioner Hill and Foreign Secretary Herrmann discussed a range of areas of common interest between the two countries and potential areas of co-operation.

The two countries have much in common – both are small islands developing states, with small resident populations and comparatively sizeable diaspora.  Both are members of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries with tourism as the key earner of both economies.  And both are confronted with various vulnerabilities, including the threat of hurricanes and cyclones.

High Commissioner Hill in her remarks mentioned the importance of small state advocacy in areas of mutual interest. “This ceremony today represents a recognition of the importance of dialogue between small island economies which often individually lack the capacity to represent their interest in international fora. Far from being powerless due to size, small states numerically hold significant power to influence global policy”.  High Commissioner Hill recognised the contribution of H.E. Dwight Gardiner OBE, Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the International Maritime Organisation and H.E. Captain Ian Finley, Permanent Representative of The Cook Islands to the International Maritime Organisation in promoting this  partnership between Antigua and Barbuda and the Cook Islands.

Secretary Herrmann welcomed the signing as an important step in strengthening co-operation between the two states.  “The Cook Islands is currently grappling with the issue of DAC graduation, a challenge also confronting Antigua and Barbuda and many small islands developing states.  It is imperative we work together to ensure resilience and vulnerability are included in the index that defines a country’s level of development.”

The communiqué conveys the agreement of both States for their diplomatic relations to be guided by the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, particularly on equality among States, respect for national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and respect for international treaties.

The communiqué expresses the desire of both States to promote and strengthen bonds of friendship and cooperation between their two countries in political, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other fields.