Minister Ablonczy to Represent Canada in Costa Rica and Panama

March 14, 2013 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), departs today for Costa Rica and Panama, where she will meet key allies as part of the Harper government’s ongoing efforts to deepen Canada’s engagement in the Americas.

On March 15, Minister Ablonczy will be in San José, Costa Rica, to meet with President Laura Chinchilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs Enrique Castillo and Attorney General Jorge Chavarría. She will also take part in a ceremony to underline Canada’s work alongside Costa Rica toward strengthening security in Central America.

“Canada is a committed leader in the global fight against transnational organized crime,” said Minister Ablonczy. “By working with trusted and valuable partners such as Costa Rica, we are putting greater pressure on criminals who use Central America as a conduit for trafficking drugs, weapons and people. Canada is proud to work shoulder to shoulder with our allies to improve security in the region and to build a hemisphere that is safer for all the citizens of the Americas.”

Next, Minister Ablonczy will travel to Panama City, where she will represent Canada at the 54th annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) from March 16 to 17. Established in 1959, the Bank has a mandate to foster economic and social development in the Americas. During the height of the global financial crisis, Canada displayed leadership by temporarily giving the Bank US$4 billion in additional lending room in order to help countries in the Americas overcome the credit shortage.

“Canada is dedicated to increasing prosperity and greater equality in Latin America and the Caribbean, and our work through the Inter-American Development Bank is a key pillar in those efforts,” said Minister Ablonczy. “Whether by backstopping the Bank during the darkest days of the downturn or working to open new markets and break down trade barriers in the region, Canada continues to demonstrate our focus on fostering economic growth in the Americas.”

While at the bank’s annual meeting, Minister Ablonczy will also meet with leaders, her counterparts and business representatives from throughout the hemisphere.

Through Canada’s engagement in the Americas—a foreign policy priority since 2007—Canada places special importance on working closely with hemispheric organizations, including the Inter-American Development Bank.

The visit to Costa Rica and Panama follows on the heels of a week-long outreach tour by Minister Ablonczy and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Between them, the ministers reached a total of 11 countries in the region over 12 days.

For more information, please consult Canada’s partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank Annual Meeting, Canada-Costa Rica Relations and Canada-Panama Relations.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Joshua Zanin
Director of Communications
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
Follow us on Twitter: @DFAIT_MAECI

Media Centre