OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE

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16:32-. Privert details the vulnerability of his country to climate change.

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16:30-. The Caribbean Sea is the common asset of the countries of the region, he states, while welcoming all initiatives relating to transport. “This specific issue will provide a connection between us all,” he says.

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16:28-. The representative of Haiti - host country of the previous Summit - notes that today the region is facing various threats.

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16:28-. Jocelerme Privert, interim president of Haiti, speaks in the plenary. He begins by highlighting the ties between Port au Prince and Havana. He notes that the AEC establishes a new regional paradigm, with solidarity at its core.

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16:22-. “Many thanks,” he states in Spanish, before telling the Cuban President that Belize is very grateful for all the support his country has received when “it has most needed it.”

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16:20-. Gaspar Vega calls on AEC members to ensure agreements are reached on a negotiating framework, without the use of threat and force. He recalls the border dispute between his country and Guatemala.

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16:12-.“The people of Belize consider and believe in this great enterprise that is the AEC, because we are aware that many of us will be strengthened as partners and brothers,” Gaspar Vega notes, referring to risks such as climate change, financial instability, epidemics such as Zika, and recalling that security is an important asset of the people.

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16:12-. Margarito Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, highlights the goodwill and hospitality of the Cuban government and people. He expresses gratitude for the efforts of the outgoing ACS Secretary General, Alfonso Múnera, and applauds the choice of Ambassador Soomer to take his place.

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16:10-. He cites Fidel when he expressed concern about this issue at the recently held Seventh Party Congress in Cuba.

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16:10-. He refers to the ecological crisis and states that the world still has a long way to go. This is evident in the increase in temperature, which brings losses and damages. “There is no political will to mitigate such damages,” he adds after stressing that what we can do to address the situation is “demand our rights.”

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16:08-. Halleslevens Acevedo undertakes a detailed analysis of the current international political situation. He talks about terrorism, wars and other issues, encouraged, in his opinion, by capitalist greed.

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16:08-. The Nicaraguan Vice President notes that unity is important to protect against the growing greed of capitalism.

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16:07-. Halleslevens Acevedo also refers to the ongoing Colombian peace process. He expresses condemnation of the impeachment process against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and also denounces the attacks on Venezuela.

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16:07-. Regarding the restoration of relations between Cuba and the United States, Halleslevens Acevedo indicates that this should lead to the lifting of the blockade and the return of the territory illegally occupied in Guantánamo.

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16:05-. The Vice President notes that his government and people firmly believe in the ACS as a mechanism for dialogue.

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16:05-. The Vice President of Nicaragua, Moisés Omar Halleslevens Acevedo, takes the floor, praising the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, for a life dedicated to the progress of the peoples of the world.

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16:02-.“A strong and sustainable economy, and security for our peoples is the priority,” Rutte concludes.

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16:00-. We are suffering for the rising sea level, “your concerns are ours,” Rutte adds after stating that his country's support is available without bureaucracy and in various forms.

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16:00-.“We are united politically, culturally and economically and we know that working together makes us stronger,” the Dutch Prime Minister states.

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16:00-. The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, notes that his nation is linked to the AEC by four associate member countries of the Caribbean.

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15:55-. The Guatemalan President expresses his government's support for the Colombian peace process.

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15:55-. Morales states that the political declaration to be adopted reflects the hard work that lies ahead. In this regard, he notes that the AEC is politically strengthened.

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15:55-. The Guatemalan President refers to the problems facing the Central American nation including the impact of natural disasters. In this sense, he welcomes the proposals presented by Cuba. He proposes that, in coordination with the Cuban government, these projects are put into practice.

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15:52-. Morales notes that Guatemala is one of the countries affected by climate change. “We are located in a zone of influence of El Niño and La Niña, and as a result there are impacts on agriculture.”

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15:52-. The Caribbean Sea has great potential, Morales says, on his first appearance at such an event. At another point he notes that his government is implementing programs that benefit tourism.

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15:50-. Morales describes the ACS as a privileged forum for the region. No nation should be indifferent toward the issues set out before us, we must be united to face the challenges of sustainable development, climate change and others, he notes.

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15:50-.The President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, is the first to speak at the afternoon session of the High-Level segment of the 7th ACS Summit. This is his first time in Cuba as President of the Central American nation.

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Photo: Cuban television

13:28-. The issue of development and security and peace will also be recognized together with the vulnerability given climate change. We have to work, Solís notes, to implement the aspects outlined in the Paris Agreement, which although insufficient, are the only ones we have.

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13:25-. In reference to immigration policies, the Costa Rican President notes that this issue must be addressed with a humanitarian sense. On recognizing the efforts of his own country and the region in this regard, he adds that more “solidarity” is needed to defend the rights of migrants, including many Africans and Asians who use Latin America as a stopover on their way north. “We must recognize this phenomenon and combat trafficking networks, one of the most lucrative illegal businesses.”

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13:25-. Solís refers to the rights of Caribbean women, noting that “They must reclaim spaces, receive equal wages and study at universities as the majority group.”

Photo: Cuban television

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13:22-. Luis Guillermo Solís notes that, on the subject of energy, his country has vast experience with alternative sources. About 99% of the country's production last year was generated by water and geothermal energy. “We must promote greener energy,” he stresses.

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13:22-. The Costa Rican President recognizes the importance of the issues discussed in Havana, and welcomes the inclusion of the themes listed at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit. He noted that connectivity and job creation are major challenges.

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13:20-.He thanks the Cuban people and government for their warm welcome; and congratulates Alfonso Múnera for his efforts as ACS-AEC general secretary, as well as June Soomer, elected to assume the responsibility.

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13:18-.Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís takes the floor.

Photo: Tomada de la televisión

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13:17-.Rowley concludes adding that security is a major concern in the region, but must be addressed with related economic issues in mind.

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13:15-.The Prime Minister states that his country is committed to solidarity, accompanied by non-intervention in the affairs of other nations.

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13:10-.Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Keith Rowley, who is participating for the first time in an ACS Summit, takes the opportunity to reiterate his country's commitment to the organization's principles.

Photo: Tomada de la televisión

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13:10-.The Salvadoran Salvador concludes his comments thanking the Cuban government which, he says, "continues to be a reference for the region in the implementation of social policies."

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13:08-.Cerén congratulates Cuba for the reestablishment of relations with the United States and expresses his support for the resolution on Venezuela approved the Summit.

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13:05-.He emphasizes that countries on the path to development must promote South-South cooperation to share the knowledge we have to solve problems.

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13:03-.Cerén expresses his agreement that climate change requires immediate action, while noting that El Salvador is very much interested in issues under discussion at the 7th Summit, including sustainable growth, diversification of energy resources, and tourism.

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13:02-. Sánchez Cerén thanks Raúl for the last night's reception and the Summit's success, while expressing his confidence that the event will contribute to moving Caribbean integration and prosperity forward.

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13:00-.El Salvador's President Sánchez Cerén began his remarks quoting Simón Bolívar: "The unity of our people is not a simple daydream of men, but rather the inexorable mandate of destiny."

Photo: Tomada de la televisión

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12:45-.The leader from St. Vincent and the Grenadines concluded emphasizing that differences among Caribbean nations may exist, but that we can work together.

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12:45-.Gonsalves noted that his country has faced obstacles in attempting to pay Cuba for medications - supplied at cost - due to the extraterritorial reach of the U.S. blockade.

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12:38-.He noted that current challenges cannot be resolved individually, emphasizing that integration is the only possible, realistic path to follow, while insisting that the region's problems are rooted in a history which cannot be forgotten.

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12:30-.Ralph Gonsalves recalled that the region's peoples have faced colonialism, slavery, and genocide, yet have created independent nations, and no one else needs to define us, he affirmed.

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12:22-. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of de Saint Vincent and the Grenadines noted that he came to Cuba over 40 years ago, only two months after the Barbados attack which cost 73 people their lives.

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12:12-. Bouterse highlighted the importance of the Summit which unites regional counties around issues of sustainable development, climate change and peace. Trade, sustainable tourism, natural disaster preparedness and transport are pillars of development for the present and future of the Caribbean, he stated.

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 12:10-. The President of Suriname, Desiré Delano Bouterse, thanked Cuba for its warm and courteous welcome. He also thanked Múnera for his efforts and dedication as Secretary General of the ACS, and congratulated Soomer on assuming the position.

Photo: Granma

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 12:02-. A spirit of respect and unity within diversity must he upheld. We have advanced a great deal in the last 10 years: CELAC, Unasur and other regional integration organizations have been founded, stated Maduro. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 12:00-. Maduro denounced attempts by the OAS secretary General to apply the Inter-American Democratic Charter against Venezuela. The Bolivarian Republic is a participatory democracy, of the 18 elections we have one they have not recognized a single one, he noted.

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11:58-. “There is a permanent conspiracy against the Bolivarian Revolution,” stated Maduro, who described attacks by the right wing against the government and people of Venezuelan and expressed thanks for the declaration approved by the 7th Summit supporting dialogue between the government and opposition factions.

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11:45-. Maduro described Petrocaribe as one of the central pillars of social development, stability and energy stability established within the spirit of the ACS. He recalled that the initiative was the idea of late Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez. “Important issues for the region have been approved in this 7th Summit: tourism, economy, trade, transport, pending challenges,” stated Maduro.

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11:42-. In his speech Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro congratulated Raúl on his birthday yesterday, June 3, and the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, celebrating his 90th birthday this August 13. Maduro also thanked Múnera and congratulated the organization’s new Secretary General.

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11:38-. Varela noted that in order to win the battle against crime each country must increase efforts to promote domestic development and provide greater opportunities for young people. He noted the importance of technological exchanges for the region, and double efforts to combat the production and distribution of drugs. The Panamanian President also reiterated his country’ proposal to establish a international carbon footprint reduction center, reforestation and mobilize resources for the region.

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11:36-. President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, invited regional leaders to visit his country on June 26, to attend the inauguration of the newly expanded inter-oceanic canal.

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11:35-.We have a historic opportunity to make the ACS different from other organizations, and go beyond regional ties. We have a simple and reasonable agenda, noted the Prime Minister of Granada, who also highlighted the importance of combating climate change, a grave threat to Small Island nations.

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11:28-. Kieth Mitchell, Prime Minister of Granada speaks, recalling his numerous visits to Cuba since 1997 and thanking the island for its longstanging support and solidarity with his country.

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11:20-. Hernández highlighted the responsibility of both Caribbean nations and more developed countries to combat climate change. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11:10-. President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, highlighted the longstanding ties of cooperation and solidarity between his country and Cuba, specifically in regards to support offered by the island following Hurricane Mitch, the worst natural disaster the country has seen in the last 200 years.

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11:00-. The President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, David Granger, thanked the Cuban people and government for their warm welcome. He also saluted outgoing Secretary General Alfonso Múnera and congratulated June Soomer on his appointment as new Secretary General. He went on to note that the ACS considers the Caribbean Sea to be part of the regions heritage, and as such its resources must be protected from environmental damage.

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10:56-. The Dominican leader reiterated his country’s commitment to supporting disaster risk preparedness initiatives, noting that the region has the potential to inspire “genuine changes.”

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10:52-. Medina described the 2030 sustainable development agenda as a blueprint to tackle challenges, stressing the need to find initiatives which best suit the region, who also called for the Caribbean sea to be recognized as a Special Area in considering the common challenges of sustainable development within the region.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10:48-.The President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, speaks to the plenary. His country is the current President pro tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

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10:48-.Cooperation efforts are ongoing and of special important to Jamaica, we appreciate our Association and we must continue to work together in the search for practical solutions, “we are going to make the most of this occasion,” he stated. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10:45-. Our region has called for the creation of a safer world in the United Nations and other international forums, stated Holness. We welcome the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, stated the Jamaican official, after calling for the U.S. blockade to be lifted.

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10:38-. There have been global and regional events which have effected the development of the region. The vulnerability of Small Island states is one of our greatest challenges on the sustainable development agendas, recalled the Caribbean leader.

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10:34-. The ACS has the potential to make a positive impact on the region. We have a lot to build and must continue to advance, he stated. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10:30-.Holness welcomes the organization’s efforts to promote the development of ACS member and associated countries.

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10:29-. Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness begins his speech, thanking Cuba for the warm welcome.

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10:26-. Cooperation and regional integration in the spheres of transport, health, natural disaster preparedness, trade, and culture must be prioritized, stated Harris.

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10:23-. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis stated that it was a pleasure to be attending the Summit.

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10:12-. We must focus on our goals stated the Caribbean leader, while recalling the ACS’s long history. In this sense he thanked outgoing Secretary General Alfonso Múnera for giving energy to the ACS and for his leadership.

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10:10-. Campaigns by powerful countries attempt to suppress us, we must resist these differences because colonialism must not be allowed to enter through the back door, stated Browne.

 

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10:08-. Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne is the first head of state to speak, noting the longstanding relations between Antigua and Barbuda and Cuba.

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9:58-. The heads of state and government take a short recess to take the official event photo.

 

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9:40. He noted the structural disadvantages of many Caribbean countries limiting their capacity to compete in today’s global economy. Múnera also highlighted the threat of climate change and specifically rising sea levels to small island nations in the Caribbean.

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9:38-. Múnera described the Caribbean as a diverse region full of differences, and one which is experiencing crucial times, and great challenges. He commented on the African legacy in the region, of the heroic and inspiring men and women - protagonists of a history of suffering – but able to defend their condition as human beings for over 500 years.

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9:20-. Outgoing Secretary General of the ACS, Alfonso Múnera, thanked the Cuban government and Raúl for having organized the Summit, which he described as excellent, and for the support which he received in his role as Secretary General.

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9:15-. He went on to stress the importance of regional cooperation, noting that we can not remain indifferent in the face of the unrest occurring in Latin America, before attacks by the oligarchy against progressive governments. “This is a threat to peace and stability,” noted the Cuban President. Raúl stressed the importance of demanding that other countries, in their relations with nations of the region, respect the principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace. He also reiterated Cuba’s solidarity with President Nicolás Maduro, and the Bolivarian Revolution initiated by Hugo Chávez, currently suffering destabilization attempts by the right wing. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9:12-.The Cuban President highlighted priority areas for the Association, including multi-destination tourism, market diversification and the training of highly qualified professionals. He also commented on the harmful effects of climate change noting that irrational modes of production and consumption must be changed, an issue which is largely dependant on the political will of industrialized nations.

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9:10-. Raúl recalled the main objectives of the Summit: to defend regional identity, strengthen political cooperation and sustainable development of ACS member and associated nations. He highlighted the achievements and global and regional challenges outlined in the Declaration of Petion Ville, Haiti, which he noted “compel us to find solutions for all.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9:05-. This time we are meeting to hold a broad discussion…in order to tackle the challenges of sustainable development, climate change, among others, stated Raúl Castro Ruz, on inaugurating the High Level Segment of the 7th ACS Summit.

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9:02-.The official inauguration ceremony of the High Level Segment of the 7th ACS Summit begins. Cuba’s national anthem is played.

Photo: Tomada de la televisión

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9:00-. The President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro, has arrived to the plenary where the High Level Segment of the Summit will shortly begin.

Photo: Tomada de la televisión

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8:50-.The Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by regional leaders during the 2nd CELAC Summit, held in Havana, is expected to be reaffirmed during today’s event.

Photo: Tomada de la televisión

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8:35-. Upon arrival in Cuba, here to attend the 7th ACS Summit, President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, stated that Caribbean nations share a common history of struggle. We are here to continue strengthening the path toward sustainable development in the region, he noted, adding that issues such as climate change will be discussed during the event. He concluded stating: “we will continue with the Bolivarian diplomacy of peace.”

Photo: Prensa Presidencial

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8:30-. Heads of state and government of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) set to review Declaration of Havana and 2016-2018 Action Plan, today, June 4.