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EU to lend Panama $53 mln in aid

The European Union has offered to lend Panama €38 million ($53 million) under its 2007-2013 aid program, visiting European commissioner for foreign affairs Benita Ferrero-Waldner said on Monday.

Panamanian foreign minister Samuel Lewis Navarro said at the same press conference that an aid agreement and a memorandum of understanding on air services had been signed on Monday. “The meeting has also served to boost our nation’s commitment to a dynamic participation in the economic integration process and the need for a greater rapprochement to the Central American parliament and other collaboration instruments,” said Navarro.

Panama was the first stop of Ferrero-Waldner’s six-day visit to Central America. She said the main purpose of her trip is to promote the integration of Panama in the Central America-European Union Association Agreement.

Navarro said the agreement will deal with political links, cooperation and trade. The first round of talks on the issue will be held in Costa Rica on October 22. The EU currently has similar deals with Chile and Mexico. Ferrero-Waldner, who arrived in Panama on Saturday, leaves on Tuesday to continue her trip which will also take her to El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. (