During the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, held discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
The bilateral meeting was an opportunity for Prime Minister Browne to express appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s investment of US$80 million towards the expansion of the Five Islands Campus of the University of the West Indies.
The investment is a sign of a growing relationship between the two countries.
Prime Minister Browne also addressed the issue of climate change, which is a major concern for Antigua and Barbuda.
He encouraged Saudi Arabia to support the country in developing a balanced approach towards economic growth and resilience against the effects of climate change.
Prince Farhan supported Prime Minister Browne’s position, noting the need for countries to work together to reduce the impact of the climate crisis, which affects small states like Antigua and Barbuda more significantly due to the vulnerability of their economies.
In addition, Prime Minister Browne secured the commitment of the Saudi Foreign Minister to support Antigua and Barbuda as the host of the SIDS4 Conference in May 2024.
This conference will be one of the largest gatherings of island nations in the past ten years, aimed at addressing the issues affecting their future survival.
Prince Farhan also expressed interest in the Centre of Excellence, which will be launched during SIDS4, and will host a data hub to address the data challenges faced by island nations.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Browne also discussed several matters related to the economic development of Antigua and Barbuda.
He explored the possibility of investing in AI and proposed the opening of an embassy in Antigua and Barbuda. Senior cabinet colleagues, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, EP Chet Greene and Minister for Health and the Environment, Sir Molwyn Joseph, also attended the meeting, along with Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Walton Aubrey Webson, Deputy Permanent Representative Mr. Tumasie Blair and Mr. Claxton Duberry, First Secretary..