Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís signs bilateral agreements with Panama’s Juan Carlos Varela

November 20, 2014

Following a one-day official visit to Panama, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís on Wednesday signed a series of agreements with Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela to develop a joint agenda on security, trade, immigration and tourism.

During a five-hour meeting the presidents agreed to meet again in coming weeks to outline the sharing of intelligence to combat contraband, drug trafficking, human trafficking and other organized criminal activities that affect both countries.

Solís said the two leaders also agreed to focus on stimulating trade and commerce along border areas to generate “wealth and prosperity” in traditionally poor regions. But he added that the two neighbors should fight a “frontal battle” against organized crime.

Varela said his administration has received intelligence that an increase in illicit activities in border areas by organized criminal networks is hurting local business.

Human rights also was on the agenda, as the two presidents thanked each other for supporting nominations at regional human rights organizations. Solís acknowledged Panama’s support of Costa Rican Elizabeth Odio Benito as a candidate for the San José-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Varela thanked Costa Rica for its support of Esmeralda Arosemena as Panama’s candidate for a post at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The presidents also signed an agreement to develop a joint strategy to expedite customs procedures for the transit of people, goods and vehicles, as well as strategies for boosting tourism in both countries.

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