CentAm, Spanish foreign ministers meet in D.R.

    14 de marzo de 2018

    Santo Domingo, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- The foreign ministers of Spain and of the eight countries that constitute the Central American Integration System (SICA) launched talks Wednesday in Santo Domingo to discuss strategies to strengthen cooperation between that European nation and the SICA members.

    In addition to the summit, a commemorative event will take place marking the 12th anniversary of the SICA-Spain fund, an aid mechanism to help finance regional development and integration.

    Spain's Alfonso Dastis said that the meeting is an opportunity to assess the results of the fruitful relationship between the countries, which has consolidated over the past 17 years, and that it will "offer the perfect setting to look toward the future with the creation of a new mixed commission, which will guide our collaboration efforts in the coming years."

    At the summit's inauguration, Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas backed the expansion of collaboration opportunities between Central America and Spain.

    Spain is one of Central America's main economic partners, Vargas said, exporting more than $1.6 billion in goods and services to the region in 2016, while its imports from Central America totaled more than $420 million.

    Vargas also valued the importance of Spanish aid to the region regarding issues such as institutional strengthening, agriculture, education and the fight against poverty.

    The secretary general of SICA, former Guatemalan President Vinicio Cerezo, said that the historic collaboration between Central America and Spain "has been good for the region because it sends the right message to other countries and regions," adding that it has helped address common issues such as security, organized crime and drug trafficking.

    SICA was established in 1991 and is constituted by the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Panama, while 27 other countries participate as observers.