Thu, Aug 21, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Latin American leaders arrive for today's summit

AGENCIES , TAIPEI

Four Latin American leaders arrived in Taipei yesterday for the fourth Taiwan-Latin American summit to foster diplomatic ties.

Panama President Mireya Moscoso, El Salvador President Francisco Guillermo Flores, Guatemala President Alfonso Antonio Portillo and Sergio Grullon Estrella, secretary-general of the Presidential Office of the Dominican Republic, will take part in the the one-day summit tomorrow.

Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos, Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco, Honduras Vice President Jose Alberto Diaz and Belize Prime Minister Joan Musa arrived in Taipei on Tuesday.

The Fourth Summit of the Heads of States and Governments Taiwan, Central America and the Dominican Republic will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The leaders will discuss Central America's development and integration and Taiwan's cooperation with these countries.

The leaders will issue a joint communique at the end of the summit and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Moscoso are expected to sign the Taiwan-Panama Free Trade Pact.

Meanwhile, Chen said yesterday that he planned to visit Costa Rica and other Central American countries this year after shelving a planned trip to the region earlier this year because of the SARS epidemic.

"The original plan to visit Costa Rica in the first half of this year was put off because of the SARS epidemic," Chen said while meeting visiting Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco.

"I hope that state visits will be resumed in October or later," he said.

In his talks with Pacheco, Chen said he was sorry that he could not attend the inauguration ceremony of a bridge built with the assistance of Taiwan due to the SARS epidemic, but said that he hopes Pacheco can accompany him to witness the splendor of the bridge when he visits Costa Rica in November.

The bridge, which connects the main territory of Costa Rica with the Nicoya Peninsula, was inaugurated late last month.

Chen also expressed his gratitude to the Costa Rican government for its staunch support for Taiwan's bid to enter the UN and the World Health Organization.

He added that he was pleased to know that Pacheco will personally attend this year's UN Assembly in September to speak in favor of Taiwan's cause.

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