Fri, Jul 03, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Mayor’s death won’t derail Ma’s Nicaraguan schedule

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA , PANAMA CITY

President Ma Ying-jeou, left, applauds as Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli walks to give a speech during his inauguration in Panama City on Wednesday. Next to Ma, from left to right, are El Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

PHOTO: REUTERS

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will go ahead with his plans to visit Nicaragua despite the death of Managua Mayor Alexis Arguello, Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) said in Panama on Wednesday.

Ma, who attended the inauguration of Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli on Wednesday, was scheduled to travel to Nicaragua today for a state visit.

Arguello, a boxing champion-turned-politician, was found dead at his home early on Wednesday. Local media reports said it appeared to be case of suicide.

His death, along with speculation that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega would accompanying deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on a bid to return home, had Taiwanese reporters accompanying Ma speculating on whether his trip to Managua would be affected.

Ou said Ma would continue to Nicaragua as scheduled. Ortega is scheduled to drive Ma to the hub of a bilateral technological cooperation project and Ma will also visit a trade fair where many Taiwanese companies are showcasing their latest products.

Touching on Arguello’s death, Ou said Ortega and Nicaragua’s foreign minister had not gone to Panama City for Martinelli’s inauguration.

Some of the local government officials in Ma’s delegation who had been scheduled to meet Arguello and Ou said their itinerary would now be adjusted. He said Ma and his delegation would extend their condolences on Arguello’s death when they arrive in Managua.

Ma and his entourage will make a stopover in Hawaii on their way back to Taiwan on Monday.

The presidential delegation was due to visit Honduras but that stop was canceled after Zelaya was forced into exile by military leaders on Sunday.

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