Minister of State Kent to Attend OAS General Assembly in Honduras and Visit El Salvador and Costa Rica

No. 144 - May 29, 2009 (3:10 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), announced today that he will travel to El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. In Honduras, he will attend the 39th Regular Session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly, which will take place in San Pedro Sula from June 2 to 3, 2009.

Minister of State Kent will first travel to El Salvador to attend the Pathways to Prosperity meeting. “Canada remains committed to working constructively to promote regional economic integration and I look forward to engaging with partners on concrete ways to enhance prosperity in the hemisphere,” said Minister of State Kent.

While in El Salvador, the Minister of State will also attend the June 1 inauguration of Mauricio Funes, who was elected president on March 15, 2009, in an electoral process deemed free and fair by international observers.

At the OAS General Assembly in Honduras, Minister of State Kent will attend formal plenary sessions and a private dialogue of foreign ministers on priority issues. The Minister of State will also participate in a ministerial-level meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group to follow up on the Fifth Summit of the Americas, held in Trinidad and Tobago April 17-19, 2009. In addition, he will hold a number of bilateral meetings, including one with OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and others with foreign ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Canada is committed to strengthening the OAS in support of democracy, security, respect for human rights, and the rule of law in the Americas,” said Minister of State Kent. “We have taken on a leadership role and work closely with our partners in regional organizations such as the OAS.”

The OAS is the primary political forum of the Americas and is composed of 34 active member states. Canada is the second-largest financial contributor to the OAS, where it is a leading player in the promotion of democracy, human rights, security and civil society engagement.

The theme for this year’s General Assembly is non-violence, an important topic for Canada and all OAS member states. “Neither sustainable prosperity and growth nor strong democratic governance can flourish in an environment of insecurity,” said Minister of State Kent. “The OAS fulfills a critical function by strengthening multilateral cooperation to address security issues in the Americas.”

Immediately after the General Assembly, Minister of State Kent will travel to San José, Costa Rica, where he is scheduled to meet with political leaders, such as President Oscar Arias Sánchez and the ministers of foreign affairs and of international trade, and key Canadian contacts in business and civil society.

“Canada greatly values its relationship with Costa Rica,” said the Minister of State. “I look forward to strengthening our ties with one of our closest partners in the region.”

For more information please consult the following web pages:

Canada and El Salvador

El Salvador - Overview (CIDA)

Canada and Honduras

Honduras - Overview (CIDA)

Canada and Costa Rica

Costa Rica - Overview (CIDA)

Canada and the Organization of American States

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Eleanor Johnston
Senior Special Assistant (Communications)
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
613-947-8981

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
www.international.gc.ca