SANTO DOMINGO, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The Dominican Republic's Secretary of State for Foreign Relations Carlos Morales Friday called for strengthening integration in the Caribbean to relaunch its presence on the international stage.
"There are many threats that should impel us to accelerate the rhythm of our integration, and now more than ever, we need institutional mechanisms to maximize the regional dialogue towards this integration," Morales told the opening of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) Council of Ministers' Special Meeting here.
Morales said that integration is the source of strength for the Caribbean economies to increase their exports to the main markets and for the region to have efficient responses to global crisis.
Morales also stressed the importance of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union and the bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to consolidate the economic and trade relations in the region.
Morales hoped that the meeting would help achieve important progress to strengthen the forum and support a prosperous Caribbean.
The forum's special meeting was called to discuss the allotment of the 11th delivery of the European Development Funds (EDF), to review the regulations of the regional organization and to elect the forum's new board of directors.
The Dominican Republic currently holds the presidency of the CARIFORUM, which was established in 1992 and groups 16 Caribbean economies with the goal of promoting multilateral cooperation and regional integration, as well as coordinating the European financial assistance.
CARIFORUM members are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.