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Rice, Caribbean diplomats to discuss trade deal at UN gathering

The Associated Press | September 19, 2006

Rice, Caribbean diplomats to discuss trade deal at U.N. gathering

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and foreign ministers from the Caribbean Community will discuss a possible new free trade deal at U.N. headquarters next week, officials said Tuesday.

The top U.S. diplomat agreed to meet with her Caribbean counterparts on Sept. 25 during sessions of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, the secretariat of the 15-nation Caribbean Community said in a statement.

The group said it also expected to discuss drug trafficking and development in Haiti.

At a July summit in St. Kitts, Caribbean leaders said they wanted formal talks with Washington on a free trade agreement. The current pact between the United States and Caribbean nations must be renewed every year by unanimous decision of the 148-nation World Trade Organization.

A Caricom organization devoted to pursuing trade deals has said it would update the ministers on a study assessing the possibility of an agreement similar to the one signed last year by Washington, Central American nations and the Dominican Republic.

Rice last met Caribbean leaders at a two-day Caricom conference in the Bahamas in March.

 source: IHT