Nicaragua pulls out of EU talks

March 27, 2009

The seventh round of trade and cooperation talks between the European Union (EU) and Central America were postponed Wednesday after Nicaragua decided to officially withdraw from the talks on Tuesday morning.

“We want to make clear the suspension of one round is not the end of the negotiations,” said Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno on Wednesday afternoon. “Not one country has the power of veto in order to stop negotiations.”

The negotiations taking place in Tegucigalpa, Honduras this week first came to a halt on Monday, the first day of the round of talks, after the Nicaraguan delegation tried to present a regional cooperation fund proposal without the consensus of the five Central American countries participating at the negotiations.

The amount Nicaragua requested was €60 billion (about $79.4 billion), an amount not feasible for the EU, Stagno said.

On Tuesday morning, Nicaragua rejoined the negotiations but insisted on pressing on for the fund and abandoned the talks when the delegation could not achieve a regional consensus.

“The four (remaining) countries still want to continue the negotiations. We considered Nicaragua´s decision to be a unilateral decision,” Stagno said. “This certainly could affect our interests.”

According to a press release from the EU and the four remaining Central American countries – Costa Rica, Nicaragua´s decision is a “temporary measure.”

Marco Vinicio Ruiz, the foreign trade minister, spoke on Wednesday about the possibility of Panama joining the talks if Nicaragua chooses not to rejoin in the near future.

“Nicaragua´s decision is unfortunate however we respect it,” Ruiz told reporters. “We urged Nicaragua to abandon this anti-Central American stance because it is a position that hurts the interests of Central America, not just Nicaragua.”

The talks could resume by early May, both Stagno and Ruiz said.

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