The Unity Labour Party administration says it is concerned about the negative impact war against Syria could have on the economies of the region.
The United States has threatened military action against the Arab nation amidst allegations that chemical weapons were used there recently as the two-year-old civil war continues.
But Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said on Monday that that such military intervention could trigger “wider economic fallout that could reverse the fragile economic gains of the global economy and plunge many states back into recession”.
Gonsalves, who is also acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, said his government has noted with alarm that the threat of military action has already unsettled global oil markets, resulting in the highest prices of the last six months,” he said.
He said that Brent crude oil has passed US$117 per barrel, and experts are forecasting even higher prices in the event of a military strike.
“Already, Libya, one of the Arab world’s biggest oil producers, has seen its production drop by nearly 60 per cent since the conclusion of military operations in that country. Any further destabilization in the region has the potential to unleash catastrophic economic effects in fragile economies worldwide.
“In that regard, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the wider Caribbean region would be adversely affected by any military decision that would impact the price of oil and energy,” he said, reading from a prepared statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gonsalves said that from the beginning of the conflict in Syria, his government has been “deeply concerned with the possibility of wider destabilization in the Middle East.
He said that his government has noted the growing refugee crisis, the sectarian violence in neighbouring states, the increased tensions among Middle Eastern states aligned for and against the Syrian regime, the potential for retaliatory attacks against Israel, and the flood of foreign fighters and Jihadists into Syria from far-flung countries.
“As such, it is imperative that any international action in Syria must be taken with a view to improving the lives and prospects of the Syrian people without further destabilizing the region,” he said in the statement, in which he also said that any military action at this time would be premature.
The Prime Minister further said that his government has “repeatedly demonstrated its sustained interest and deepening concern with the spiralling conflict in Syria and its commitment in a peaceful, negotiated solution, in accordance with international law and the wishes of the Syrian people”.
He said the statement on Monday follows the circulation of a Memorandum to all CARICOM governments in February 2012, a May 31, 2012 Parliamentary Statement him, and an explanation of SVG’s position to the United Nations on Aug. 3, 2012.
He said: “In each of those official statements on the Syrian crisis, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has reiterated three clear principles regarding its position on situations involving civil war and sustained violent conflict, as in the case of Syria, namely:
1. The immediate cessation of all violence between and among all parties in the conflict;
2. The commencement of an inclusive political process geared towards a locally-crafted and negotiated solution to the conflict, without undue outside interference; and
3. That the international community should not take actions that will exacerbate the violence, make a negotiated solution more difficult, or serve as a pretext for military intervention or undue external interference in the sovereign affairs of states
“The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines continues to advocate these principles in the Syrian context, and continues to maintain its respect of the integrity and sovereignty of any country, while unreservedly condemning any and all uses of chemical weapons,” Gonsalves said.