Minister of State Ablonczy to Attend International Security Conference in Guatemala

(No. 173 - June 21, 2011 - 12:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), will travel to Guatemala City to attend the International Conference in Support of the Central America Security Strategy, which will take place June 22 and 23, 2011.

"This conference is an important forum to discuss the regional security strategy formulated by the Central American Integration System,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. "Canada will have an opportunity to support Central America-led security solutions for the region and ensure effective coordination and cooperation in the implementation of an integrated regional security strategy, consistent with advancing the security pillar of Canada’s Americas Strategy."

The Central American Integration System (SICA) is the regional integration mechanism for the Central American countries of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. SICA seeks to integrate the region’s security, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental policies to strengthen and broaden the participation of the region as a whole in the international arena.

The goal of the Central America Security Strategy is to create a strengthened security environment for people and their property; and to allow sustainable human development through investment and activities related to crime reduction, violence prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration of criminals, and institutional strengthening.

"Canada’s participation in addressing security challenges in the hemisphere is essential if we are to improve regional security," said Minister of State Ablonczy. "As we have said before, a safer hemisphere will result in tangible benefits to all citizens in the Americas, including Canadians who have personal, professional or economic links to the rest of the region."

While in Guatemala, Minister of State Ablonczy will participate in formal plenary sessions of the Conference and visit a Canada-funded security project. In addition, she will have a number of meetings related to Canada’s bilateral relationship with Guatemala, including a meeting with representatives of the Canadian business community in the country.

"Canada values its relationship with Guatemala," said the Minister of State. "I look forward to deepening our ties with an important partner in the hemisphere."

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

John Babcock
Senior Communications Adviser
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)
613-944-2300

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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