TEGUCIGALPA – The five presidents of Central America met in Honduras last weekend to discuss advances toward the region’s association agreement with the European Union and to develop a plan to counter the global financial crisis by strengthening trade and obtaining new lines of credit.
The Central American leaders committed to concluding the negotiation rounds with the EU by the first semester of 2009 and to sign the agreement in 2010. The decision marks the first time the presidents have agreed to a calendar for their association agreement with the EU.
The various leaders also took advantage of the forum to promote their own foreign policies. Costa Rican President Oscar Arias spoke of the importance of diversifying ties not only with the United States and Europe but also China. And Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who arrived two hours late to the conference, said that Central America should also look to South America, especially toward the Venezuelan-sponsored Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).