USA — Gates: ‘United States is Reengaging’ With Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Bar­ba­dos, April 16, 2010 — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said he hopes today’s region­al secu­ri­ty sum­mit here and Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s Caribbean Basin Secu­ri­ty Ini­tia­tive send a strong sig­nal that “the Unit­ed States is reen­gag­ing with this region” after draw­ing down its pres­ence fol­low­ing the 9/11 ter­ror attacks.

Speak­ing at a joint news con­fer­ence today with sev­en Caribbean gov­ern­ment and defense lead­ers, Gates said he’s impressed by the inno­v­a­tive approach­es being tak­en to pro­mote col­lec­tive secu­ri­ty through the initiative. 

Fol­low­ing what he called a “very pro­duc­tive” meet­ing to dis­cuss fur­ther­ing those efforts, Gates laud­ed the Caribbean nations’ work toward mar­shalling lim­it­ed resources to address com­mon threats such as nar­co-traf­fick­ing and vio­lent crime. 

These chal­lenges touch U.S. shores as well, and demand that region­al nations mount a unit­ed front to con­front them, Gates said dur­ing a joint news con­fer­ence with Bar­ba­di­an Prime Min­is­ter David Thompson. 

Gates con­ced­ed that the drug traf­fick­ing prob­lem has wors­ened here due to the suc­cess of the Meri­da Ini­tia­tive and Mexico’s crack­down on drug car­tels there. 

“Nar­co-traf­fick­ing is a prob­lem for the hemi­sphere as a whole,” he said, “and wher­ev­er you put pres­sure, the traf­fick­ers will go where there is less resis­tance and where there is less capability.” 

Going for­ward, Gates said he would like to see broad­er efforts to con­nect the region­al secu­ri­ty sys­tem here with efforts under way out­side the East­ern Caribbean. This includes efforts by the French, Dutch, Colom­bians, Peru­vians and U.S. South­ern Command’s Joint Inter­a­gency Task Force. 

The sec­re­tary praised Bar­ba­dos as a strong U.S. secu­ri­ty part­ner and a leader in pro­mot­ing secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion in the East­ern Caribbean. 

“The Unit­ed States stands stead­fast­ly with you as you pur­sue long-term solu­tions to these prob­lems,” Gates said after meet­ing with the defense ministers. 

Much of that sup­port is pro­vid­ed through the Caribbean Basin Secu­ri­ty Ini­tia­tive that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma pro­posed last April dur­ing the Sum­mit of the Amer­i­cans in Trinidad and Tobago. 

The ini­tia­tive has been built with exten­sive input from Caribbean nations with a cen­tral role for the region­al secu­ri­ty sys­tem, Gates not­ed today, all aimed at help­ing region­al gov­ern­ments face up to transna­tion­al threats. 

The $45 mil­lion the Unit­ed States has com­mit­ted to the effort this year will help improve region­al mar­itime patrol and inter­dic­tion capa­bil­i­ties and domain aware­ness and pro­vide for addi­tion­al joint train­ing and exer­cis­es, he said. 

Gates said details about how these funds will be allo­cat­ed are being ham­mered out by tech­ni­cal work­ing groups, with one con­vened today in Washington. 

He empha­sized that region­al nations will be the ones to help deter­mine how the fund­ing can be most effec­tive. The Unit­ed States already has com­mit­ted three inter­cep­tor boats and com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment, but Gates said he heard sug­ges­tions today about the need for more law enforce­ment train­ing and the stand-up of major crimes units. 

How­ev­er, Gates empha­sized that the Caribbean ini­tia­tive rep­re­sents more as it pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive approach to region­al secu­ri­ty. Its scope extends beyond mil­i­tary and secu­ri­ty assis­tance to address equal­ly crit­i­cal com­po­nents of the region’s eco­nom­ic and social stability. 

The ini­tia­tive aims to pro­vide, “not just improved secu­ri­ty capa­bil­i­ties to con­front imme­di­ate threats, but also devel­op­ment assis­tance in hopes of address­ing the root caus­es of region­al prob­lems, such as the lack of edu­ca­tion­al and employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­lar­ly for youth,” Gates said. “That is a strat­e­gy we strong­ly support.” 

Fif­teen Caribbean Basin nations are includ­ed in the secu­ri­ty ini­tia­tive: Antigua and Bar­bu­da, The Bahamas, Bar­ba­dos, Belize, Domini­ca, Domini­can Repub­lic, Grena­da, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vin­cent and the Grenadines, Suri­name, and Trinidad and Tobago. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →