Andrews to visit Honduras
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews T.D., will visit Honduras in early January to assess at first hand the devastation wrought by Hurricane Mitch. While in Honduras Minister Andrews will also meet with Irish aid workers engaged in the rehabilitation of the country and the relief of the desperate humanitarian situation of the people. Before leaving Dublin for Honduras the Minister met with representatives of Trocaire, Goal and Concern.
The Minister will also visit a number of other countries in the region including Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St Lucia. These visits are intended to develop Ireland's relations in the region, where Ireland has a very low level of diplomatic representation. In all of Latin America and the Caribbean Ireland has only one resident diplomatic mission. This contrasts unfavourably with the level of Irish representation in other areas of the world. It is also at variance with the historical ties and good will to Ireland in the region. This was particularly noticeable during the visit of President Robinson to a number of countries in South America in 1995.
As a country seeking election to the UN Security Council, Ireland must be in a position to reassure key regions of the world that we are aware of their interests and concerns and will seek to ensure that these are reflected in the work of the Council.
Minister Andrews' programme will include a visit to the headquarters of the regional organisation, Caricom, in Guyana. He will address the Foreign Service Institute of Guyana on EU- International Affairs, will meet with his counterparts in each of the States visited and may be received by a number of Heads of State and Government. The Minister will avail of the opportunity to discuss political and economic relations, including the shape of the new Lomé convention as well as UN issues generally and the debt situation of Developing Countries.
Minister Andrews' visit to the region has been arranged to take advantage of the Dáil recess and 2/ 2 Pages
the fact that the General Affairs Council takes place on the third Monday of January rather than the usual first Monday of the month. It also takes place at an important stage of the preparation of the European Union - Latin American and Caribbean Summit, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, in June 1999.
Notes for Editors
The Irish Government has contributed IEP 400000 to humanitarian relief and rehabilitation in Honduras following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Mitch. At present APSO, Trocaire and the Irish Army have personnel working on disaster relief in Honduras. Other Irish NGO's, including GOAL and Concern, have also contributed to the relief effort.
Ireland has one Embassy in Southern and Central America, at Buenos Aires in Argentina. That Embassy is also accredited to Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela. Ireland has non-resident Diplomatic relations with Brazil (Accredited Embassy: Lisbon), Jamaica (Ottawa) and Mexico (Washington). Ireland has Honorary Consuls in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
Mary Robinson visited Argentina, Chile and Brazil in March 1995.
Caricom, the Caribbean Community, is an association of 15 Caribbean States. It was established in 1973 following a fifteen year development of free trade agreements and arrangements.