Acting PDAS Ambassador Kenneth Merten Visits Bahamas

U.S. Department of State Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (Acting PDAS) for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Ken Merten traveled to the Bahamas this week to represent the United States on the margins of the high-level CARICOM Foreign Ministers’ meeting (May 6-8) including Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson-Smith.  During the meeting Acting PDAS Merten’s reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to forge stronger bonds with its Caribbean neighbors in security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health – as underscored in our Caribbean 2020 strategy.

The Caribbean 2020 strategy, coordinated with the interagency, identifies the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development’s priorities for United States engagement with the Caribbean region in the areas of security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health. On security, we will work with our Caribbean partners to ensure ISIS is denied a foothold in the region, dismantle illicit trafficking networks, enhance maritime security, confront violent and organized crime, and increase the sharing of threat information among countries. Our diplomacy will both raise the political level of our dialogue with the Caribbean and focus it more tightly on this strategy’s six priorities. We will increase our own and our neighbors’ prosperity by promoting sustainable growth, open markets for U.S. exports, and private sector-led investment and development. On energy, exports of U.S. natural gas and the use of U.S. renewable energy technologies will provide cleaner, cheaper alternatives to heavy fuel oil and lessen reliance on Venezuela.

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