Timmermans discusses foreign policy with St Maarten

Foreign minister Frans Timmermans has held talks today in St Maarten with its governor, Mr Eugene Holiday, and prime minister, Sarah Wescot-Williams, about the foreign policy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

‘I’m here to listen to the priorities of St Maarten so that they can be incorporated visibly and recognisably into the Kingdom’s foreign policy,’ explained Mr Timmermans at the end of the talks. The ministers also discussed cooperation with St-Martin and the rest of the region. ‘Because the Dutch St Maarten and the French St-Martin share the same island, it is vital to maintain good relations. Earlier this year France, St Maarten, St-Martin and the Kingdom of the Netherlands met for talks, as a result of which agreements were made about cooperation. We are now building on those,’ said Mr Timmermans.

Economic relations were also on the agenda. ‘The Caribbean countries of the Kingdom are situated in a region with tremendous growth opportunities, for instance in Brazil, Panama and Colombia. St Maarten is a major tourist destination, with cruise ships putting into port every day. And although tourism is a mainstay of its economy, St Maarten is right to be considering other opportunities, too,’ said the minister.

The talks also touched on the candidature of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the UN Security Council from 2017 to 2018. Mr Timmermans said ‘I would also like to include the priorities of the Caribbean countries in the Kingdom in our campaign for a seat in the Security Council.’

Mr Timmermans is visiting St Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba between 2 and 5 June. On Tuesday he will preside at the Kingdom Conference on Foreign Relations, which will consider the joint foreign policy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Mr Timmermans will also have talks with the prime ministers of Curaçao and Aruba.