San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

El Salvador Begins Construction of New Port

LA UNIÓN (EFE) – SalvadoranPresident Elías “Tony” Saca this weekinaugurated construction of a new $170million mega-port project on the Gulf ofFonseca, which, when completed, will bethe largest Central American port on thePacific coast.“(La Unión Port) will be a jewel sharedby three sister countries,” Saca said, referringto El Salvador, Honduras andNicaragua – the three countries that borderthe Gulf of Fonseca. “This is a majesticport of entry into Central America, a regionundergoing clear transformations.”Saca said the gulf development wouldincrease the economic, social, tourist andecological value of the region, if the portis administered “sensibly.” The Presidentunderscored the importance of the LaUnión Port for the pending U.S.-CentralAmerican Free-Trade Agreement(CAFTA), expected to enter into forcethis year.“This mega-project will convert usinto a central and strategic port for worldtrade,” Saca said.ROUGHLY 90% of CentralAmerica’s population and production isconcentrated along the Pacific coast of theisthmus.Yet the region’s major ports –Honduras’ Puerto Cortez and Costa Rica’sPuerto Limón – are located on theAtlantic coast, requiring additional costsin land transportation (TT, July 16, 2004).Nicaragua is at the greatest disadvantage,not having a suitable port on eithercoast. While the Nicaraguan governmentrecently announced a $50 million investmentto modernize the Pacific port ofCorinto, on the northern department ofChinandega, it will not compare to the megaprojectstarting on the Gulf of Fonseca.LA Unión Port, according to theSalvadoran President, will have three terminals,and a deep-water canal to facilitatethe largest container ships and cruiseships in the world. Saca envisions the portwill not only become a major center fortrade in Central America, but also a new“first-class” tourist attraction.The Japanese government is floatingmost of the bill, investing $107 millioninto the 117-hectare port.Akio Hosono, Japanese Ambassadorto El Salvador, stressed during this week’sinauguration that the port will represent a“new hope for the people of El Salvadoras a project that will develop the Westernzone” of the isthmus and benefit all ofCentral America.Hosono said the Japanese governmenthas decided to collaborate with the projectbecause it will have an important impacton Central America’s productivity, economyand social development.The Presidents of Guatemala,Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as severalformer Salvadoran Presidents, Cabinetmembers and foreign diplomats, attendedthe ceremonial laying of the first brick.PRESIDENT Saca also took advantageof the act to commemorate the 13thanniversary of the country’s PeaceAccords, which ended El Salvador’sbloody civil war in January 1992.“This Jan. 16 we remember the PeaceAccords that have allowed us to construct acountry of liberties, with democratic spacesto cohabitate in peace and improve our conditionsof work and security,” Saca said.

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