PM Gaston Browne hopes to build deeper ties with Saudi Arabia

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda sat down with the Non-Resident Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of further strengthening ties between the two nations.

Antigua and Barbuda has enjoyed an amicable relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is seen as an important partner by many nations in the Caribbean. The Middle Eastern nation has brought significant investment and resources to the table for Caribbean nations that it has partnered with, leading to fruitful projects that have benefitted both parties.

Non-Resident Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Antigua and Barbuda, Abdullah Muhammad Alsaihani, is acting as a bridge between the two sides, both of which are looking to expand their relationship in terms of trade, economic cooperation and diplomacy.

PM Browne had this to say about his interaction with Abdullah Muhammad Alsaihani, “We are about to appoint an Economic Envoy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To this end, discussions are ongoing with the Saudi Royal Family seeking clearance from the Palace on whether or not we can proceed. That person will likely be upgraded to Ambassador as we want to ensure that we continue to strengthen the relations between our two countries.”

Prime Minister Browne also highlighted the fact that Antigua and Barbuda has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an air services agreement in the backdrop of COP28 in Dubai. This aims to connect St John and Riyadh, thus alleviating the connectivity issues between the two nations.

Such a relationship is expected to be very beneficial for Antigua and Barbuda as it has the potential to open a whole new landscape in the Middle East for the nation.
Prime Minister Browne added, “We understand that Saudi Arabia will be launching a new airline and we are hoping that Antigua and Barbuda would be considered as a possible destination for the airline.”

Last year, Saudi Arabia ferried Caribbean Leaders for a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, making several stops in the Caribbean. One of these stops was in Antigua and Barbuda, which shows the potential for a more expansive system of transportation, which has the potential to handle the logistical needs of this partnership.

Prime Minister Browne stated the following with regard to this possibility, “We have already established that there can be direct flights from Riyadh and St. John’s and our understanding is that the fleet for the new airline will include planes that are capable of doing lang-haul flights. It is with this in mind that we ask for consideration of Antigua and Barbuda should the airline decide to offer flights to the Caribbean.”

Prime Minister Browne is also among those who believe that the establishment of a Development Fund set up by the Saudi government for the Caribbean, would be of great use to Antigua and Barbuda, as well as other nations in the vicinity.

Many observers recognize that if Antigua and Barbuda does develop substantial ties with the government of Saudi Arabia, it will bring a significant amount of resources and investment to the nation and the region.

On the other hand, such a relationship would open up doors for the Saudi government to expand its footprint in the Caribbean by way of investments in infrastructure and other key sectors of Caribbean economies such as Antigua and Barbuda.

As a Small Island Nation among many other such nations in the Caribbean, the opportunity to conduct business with the Saudi apparatus, thus drawing significant amounts of investment, could be a great boon to Antigua and Barbuda.

Nia Roberts
Nia Robertshttp://writeups24.com/
Nia Roberts, journalist at Writeups24, brings academic rigour and storytelling together. Nia's work covers diverse topics and uncovers hidden truths, amplifying marginalized voices. She stands as a paragon of journalistic integrity and a champion for the underrepresented. To reach Nia Roberts, you can email contact@writeups24.com

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