Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, says Jamaica will continue to promote technical and economic co-operation with developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. He also pledged to maintain healthy ties with traditional partners such as Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and the European Union. In relation to Africa, he said Jamaica has recognised that the potential exists to deepen the trade and investment relationship with the continent and to promote African Union/African Diaspora engagement, among other areas of co-operation. The Minister was addressing members of the Diplomatic Corps at Jamaica House, on February 5, as part of activities to observe Diplomatic Week. “I am pleased too, that this year, we hope to embark on new areas of co-operation with Botswana, including the inauguration of the Jamaica/Botswana Joint Commission, thus expanding our co-operation in Southern Africa,” Senator Nicholson noted. In the meantime, the Minister said the conclusion of multilateral discussions surrounding the Arms Trade Treaty is of major importance to Jamaica, as the country continues to work towards curbing violence and strengthening national security. Senator Nicholson said the need to control the use of conventional weapons, most notably, small arms and light weapons, is of critical importance to Jamaica. “Recent tragic experiences both at home and broad, have graphically reminded us of the need to curb gun violence. We are conscious that this is a sensitive issue for many countries requiring a judicious balance between constitutional, national security and ethical considerations,” he said. Senator Nicholson said he believes the moment is opportune for the international community to take the bold and decisive step to agree on an Arms Trade Treaty. “We owe no less to the peoples of the world, especially those beset by armed violence,” the Minister emphasized. Diplomatic Week 2013 is being celebrated from February 3 to February 8. The week’s activities began with a Service of Thanksgiving at the Swallowfield Chapel, in Kingston, on Sunday, February 3, while on Monday, February 4, Jamaica’s cultural heritage was highlighted at a special cultural evening held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. On Wednesday, February 6, the diplomats will be addressed by Ministers of Finance and Planning; National Security; Tourism and Entertainment – Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, Hon. Peter Bunting, and Dr. Hon. Wykeham McNeill, respectively. The highlight of the week will be the black tie reception and diplomatic dinner hosted by their Excellencies, Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen on Thursday, February 7, at King’s House. The week culminates on Friday, February 8, with a tour of the National Gallery in downtown Kingston.