Tiller­son axed

Ja­maica-US ties re­main strong, says John­son Smith

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Paul Clarke/Gleaner Writer paul.clarke@glean­erjm.com

MIN­IS­TER OF For­eign Af­fairs and For­eign Trade Kam­ina John­son Smith says that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Ja­maica and the United States (US) will not suf­fer as a con­se­quence of the fir­ing of Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump yes­ter­day.

Tiller­son vis­ited Ja­maica in Fe­bru­ary and held im­por­tant bi­lat­eral talks with John­son Smith and Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness.

He is to be re­placed by Mike Pom­peo, the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency di­rec­tor, who Trump nom­i­nated for the post pend­ing Se­nate ap­proval.

John­son Smith told The Gleaner that is­sues dis­cussed dur­ing Tiller­son’s visit re­main rel­e­vant, when quizzed if the re­cent devel­op­ment could pose a threat to cur­rent and on­go­ing trade re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

“We had high-level dis­cus­sions on on­go­ing bi­lat­eral is­sues when ( Tiller­son) vis­ited, which will re­main rel­e­vant to Ja­maica, US re­la­tions,” John­son Smith said. “We have been given no rea­son to have any such con­cerns.

IN­TER­EST­ING TIME

Tiller­son’s re­moval comes at an in­ter­est­ing time, given that Trump agreed in prin­ci­ple last week to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the North’s nu­clear am­bi­tion.

John­son Smith noted that she was not con­cerned about the changes at the State Depart­ment in re­la­tion to the im­pact it could have on re­la­tions on na­tional se­cu­rity and other mat­ters of im­por­tance for Ja­maica and the wider Caribbean.

“No, I am not con­cerned; Ja­maica-US re­la­tions, across ad­min­is­tra­tions on both sides, have al­ways been strong and, cer tainly, high-level vis­its are al­ways i mpor tant to strength­en­ing re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween coun­tries,” she said of a po­ten­tial in­vite for Pom­peo to come to the is­land, as his pre­de­ces­sor did.

“Ja­maica and the United States of Amer­ica have al­ways had strong ties of co­op­er­a­tion, trade and friend­ship, and we in­tend to con­tinue to build on same,” John­son Smith said through a press state­ment.

TILLER­SON

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