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April 22, 1998

A two-day high-level meeting beginning in Washington on Thursday between the secretariats of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will consider cooperation in such important issues as trade, education and sustainable development.

On the matter of trade, the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas, explained that the meeting will examine how the secretariats can work together to see to it that for the smaller economies, the kind of momentum is maintained so that with one voice the larger OAS and the subregional CARICOM are "saying the same thing."

Thursday's meeting will, the Assistant Secretary General explained, consolidate the achievements of the cooperation both institutions have pursued over the years, chart a course to greater cooperation and "constructively pursue certain proposals and measures that will advance mutually the [cooperation] agenda of both organizations."

The last time the two institutions had a meeting at this level was in March 1995. And, according to Ambassador Thomas who is from Trinidad and Tobago, a number of the cooperation areas identified there have been pursued. Stressing the "community of interests between CARICOM as a regional organization and the larger Organization of American States," he said the fact that "all independent members of CARICOM are members of the OAS" was a boon to the OAS/CARICOM cooperation program.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Edwin Carrington, will meet at the OAS headquarters with Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria, the Assistant Secretary General, Permanent Council Chairman Ambassador Michael Arneaud of Trinidad and Tobago and other officials. Thursday morning, Dr. Carrington will address a special sitting of the Permanent Council and will then be hosted at a luncheon put on by the OAS Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General.

The meeting will look as well at new areas for the two secretariats to work together, including youth enterprise and employment, a Spanish-language training program, a cultural program, and women and development.

After the opening sessions and the Council meeting, the CARICOM and OAS experts will sit down in group meetings. Dr. Leonel Z˙˝iga, Executive Secretary for Integral Development at the OAS, will also participate at the meetings.

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