☷Remarks by Vice President Harris in a Virtual Meeting with Caribbean Leaders
White House ( By Press Release office)
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Via Teleconference4:36 P . M . ESTTHE VICE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon , everyone . Good afternoon . Thank you all for joining us today for this very important meeting . I am Kamala Harris , and I’m pleased to welcome you all to this conversation and this convening . As a neighbor in the Western Hemisphere , the United States shares a common bond with the nations of the Caribbean . As neighbors , we know our partnership is key to our shared prosperity and security . We also know that we have common challenges . And that is why I’ve convened this meeting: to strengthen our partnership and chart a path forward together . As we all know , our nations have extensive people - to - people ties . Millions of Americans have Caribbean heritage . Millions of Americans travel to the Caribbean each year for vacation , to visit friends and family , and to engage with the richness of that history . From South Florida to New York and beyond , Caribbean culture has become a meaningful part of American culture . And we are all grateful for that . At the same time , we recognize that we find ourselves collectively in a challenging time . The pandemic has upended so many aspects of our lives and the lives of our people . And economic recovery has been difficult and uneven for so many in this region . There is also an existential threat we collectively face in the climate crisis , and we are acutely aware that the world’s emissions have an outsize impact on the Caribbean . In light of this , I want to be clear: The United States is committed to you , our neighbors , and we will take on these challenges together . Convenings like this haven’t happened very often . So , today , as a demonstration of our administration’s commitment , I propose this be an annual meeting . We have , of course , today , a lot to discuss . And there are three areas in particular that I will ask us to focus on — areas that I know are a priority for many of you: economic recovery , security , and climate and energy . On the issue of economic recovery , the United States is the Caribbean’s biggest economic partner . This partnership benefits the economy of the United States just as it benefits your economies . So we will explore today how we can strengthen that economic partnership . On the issue of security , I know for many of you that you are particularly concerned about the trafficking of drugs and guns , and the associated violence . That is why today’s agenda includes a discussion of additional funding and other support the United States can offer to reduce violence in the region . And third , we will discuss the urgent issue for our entire planet: the issue of the climate crisis . In particular , we will discuss ways to strengthen your climate resilience and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy . Your input will help guide the United States’ effort in the days and months ahead . To each of you: I thank you for being here , and I thank you for the work we have done and will continue to do together . I look forward to our discussion today and to our gathering in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas in June . Thank you to the members of the press who are watching these opening remarks . We will now proceed with the rest of our meeting . Thank you . END 4:41 P . M . EDT
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