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Dec 16, 2014

SICA Foreign Ministers in Placencia; Guatemala to Assume Pro-Tem Chair

Regional Security is among several key issues being discussed at a gathering of SICA member states in Placencia.  On Tuesday, foreign ministers from the respective countries belonging to the regional organization participated in the Sixth Joint Commission with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister David Lin.  Today, we look at the illegal immigration of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to the United States.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the following story.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The convention of SICA member states in Belize formally got underway this morning in Placencia where foreign affairs ministers from across Central America are meeting to discuss a range of issues, including regional security.

 

Roberto Ochoa Madrid

Roberto Ochoa Madrid, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honduras

“Security, even if it’s not a matter of this summit directly, is always an agenda and not just for the region but also for bilateral relationships with all the countries in the region.  For Honduras, as you may know, it’s a very important issue and also for the triangle of northern countries it’s an important issue also and we have several appointments, several meetings and several issues [that are] important to us as a common region and also as a country.”

 

The northern triangle, an alliance of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, was formed as a result of an ongoing human trafficking issue where children from the aforesaid countries migrate to the United States illegally.

 

Roberto Ochoa Madrid

“It got started actually with a proposal of the three countries: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to IDB, the Inter-American Development Bank and we proposed some issues, mainly according to our own interest as a region and we came about actually because we have this immigration problem with the infants going through Guatemala, through Mexico to the United States and we have very much succeeded on that.  We have prevented also the immigration of infants and now it’s the other side.  We have to talk about security, we have to talk about economic development of the countries.  We have to talk about structural issues, institutions and that’s the main goals; four pillars.”

 

Honduras’ Vice Foreign Minister Roberto Ochoa Madrid says the trifecta of Central American nations has approached various organizations to address the matter and that the regional response has been favorable.

 

Roberto Ochoa Madrid

“We have gone to the United Nations, to the Organization of American States, to the United States itself, to the private sector.  To many different levels, even the bilateral level and many countries have a good response to that but the main accord, according to our interest, the main issue is the response of our people, our own countries and our own decisions on the region and the decisions internally in Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador.”

 

The gathering which is being chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington is among the last sessions Belize will be presiding over as pro tem chair of the Central American Regional Integration System. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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