UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, 22nd September, 2023…Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne on Thursday engaged in bilateral discussions with His Excellency Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia on the margins of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly here in New York.
The meeting presented the opportunity for Prime Minister Browne to personally express gratitude to the Saudi Foreign Minister for his country’s US$80 million investment in the expansion of the Five Islands Campus of the University of the West Indies.
Prime Minister Browne noted that the investment in the future economic growth and improving the educational standards of Antigua and Barbuda is a firm sign of a strengthening of the relationship between their two countries.
With the issue of climate change being a major priority for Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Browne encouraged the support of Saudi Arabia in devising a balanced approach in achieving economic growth and development while adapting and building resiliency against the effects of climate change.
Prince Farhan was in full endorsement of Prime Minister Browne’s position noting that their countries must endeavour to work together on reducing the impact of the climate crisis, whose effects on small states like Antigua and Barbuda are made worse due to the vulnerable nature of their economies.
Prime Minister Browne also won the commitment of the Saudi Foreign Minister in providing support to Antigua and Barbuda as the twin island nation will host the SIDS4 Conference in May 2024, which will be one of the largest gatherings of island nations in the past ten years to address issues affecting their future survival.
Prince Farhan also showed considerable interest in the Centre of Excellence, which will be launched during SIDS4, and will host a data hub that is intended to bridge a major gap in helping island nations address their data challenges.
A number of other matters intrinsic to the economic development of Antigua and Barbuda were raised by Prime Minister Browne during the bilateral engagement. Among them were the potential to explore possibilities and invest in AI and a proposal to open an embassy in Antigua and Barbuda.
Attending the meeting with Prime Minister Browne were his senior cabinet colleagues, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the Hon. EP Chet Greene and Minister for Health and the Environment, Sir Molwyn Joseph. Also, in the Antigua and Barbuda delegation were Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Walton Aubrey Webson, Deputy Permanent Representative Mr. Tumasie Blair and Mr. Claxton Duberry, First Secretary.