The Mexican government says major focus will be placed on energy cooperation as part of strengthening bilateral relations with Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Mexican Foreign Secretary, Dr. Luis Videgaray, gave the assurance at a press conference this afternoon at Jamaica House.

It follows bilateral talks with between himself and Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith.

The assurance of greater energy cooperation comes amid growing concerns over the long-term viability of the Venezuelan led Petrocaribe initiative.

Mexican Foreign Secretary, Dr. Luis Videgaray, says as a longstanding regional partner, Jamaica’s energy security is a major concern of his country.

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Both Foreign Affairs Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding on knowledge sharing to boost productivity in Jamaica’s oil refining sector.

The renewed talks on energy come amid growing concerns about the political and economic stability of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The concessionary Petrocaribe arrangement between Venezuela and the Caribbean has seen very little use in recent years, with Jamaica last receiving a shipment of oil from that country in March of last year.

And due to US sanctions on Venezuela, Jamaica is also seeking to repurchase it’s 49-percent stake in the local oil refinery, Petrojam.

However, Dr. Videgaray made it clear today that his government isn’t seeking to mimic any other country in its dealings with Jamaica or the Caribbean.

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Reuters news agency reported last week that Mexico is making this trip as part of efforts to erode Venezuela’s oil-based influence in the Caribbean. It says Mexico has been looking at replacing Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program.

Dr. Videgaray remained vague in answering questions whether such a possibility was on the table.

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Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson-Smith, is welcoming deeper bilateral cooperation with Mexico. Speaking yesterday afternoon, she praised Mexico for its continued support to Jamaica across all sectors.

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She thanked the Mexican government for its representation on the international stage regarding the need for greater climate change resilience for small island states.

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Minister Johnson Smith also spoke to the pursuit of greater cooperation in the areas of crime and the response to bank derisking concerns.

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Minister Johnson-Smith says language exchange also remains a key area going forward.