Antigua and Barbuda and Malta have pledged to work together in advancing the interests of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), according to an Antigua and Barbuda government statement issued in New York.
“As Small Island Developing States and with our nations poised to take up leading roles on the international stage, I believe that we have an obligation to put the interests of SIDS at the forefront,” said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne in a meeting in New York, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, with the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat.
Both leaders expressed gratitude at the warm relations between the two countries and agreed that both nations face similar challenges regarding development and climate change, the statement said.
Muscat thanked Antigua and Barbuda for its commitment to climate change and its leadership role regarding climate change initiatives within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the statement said.
It said that Muscat hopes Antigua and Barbuda will continue that leadership role into the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.
Browne also utilized the opportunity to introduce Ambassador to the United States Sir Ronald Sanders to Muscat and Sir Ronald’s candidature for the secretary general of the Commonwealth.
Browne also highlighted his desire that the incoming Secretary General of the Commonwealth be “a catalyst for change in reforming the grouping into an organization that can serve to assist the development of member states and generate investment opportunities,” the statement said.
“The secretary general must have this vision, and I believe that Sir Ron is up to the challenge,” Browne said.
The Antiguan leader noted Muscat will become the European Union chair and that he can use this opportunity to further put the interests of SIDS at the forefront.
Additionally, both leaders discussed their respective countries’ Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) and expressed congratulations at the successes of each program, “noting that Malta has the leading CIP in Europe, and Antigua and Barbuda has the leading program in the Caribbean,” the statement said.
It said Malta expressed interest in partnering with the Antiguan government and also investing in the growing energy sector in Antigua and Barbuda, particularly regarding sustainable and green energy.