Panama moves toward Associate Membership in the CAN

EFE Agency
New York, September 26, 2007

The Andean Community (CAN) and Panama signed a political dialogue and cooperation agreement in New York, as a step toward that country’s incorporation as an Associate Member of the regional organization. 

Panamanian diplomatic sources reported that the signing took place during the Sixty-second United Nations General Assembly held in New York.

The CAN is made up of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, plus Chile, which this year returned to the organization as an Associate Member. 

The Foreign Ministers of those five countries and the First Vice-President and Foreign Minister of Panama, Samuel Lewis Navarro, signed the document.

Under this agreement, the Andean Community establishes a political dialogue and cooperation mechanism of mutual interest with Panama to promote action in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, María Fernanda Espinosa, welcomed the process put into play by the signing of the agreement, which will, as she stated, conclude with Panama’s incorporation as an Associate Member of the CAN. 

"This is a historic moment that strengthens and consolidates the integration process,” Espinosa stated emphatically. 

Lewis, for his part, stated that Panama “is pleased at having taken this step that strengthens its relationship with the CAN, in which we are natural partners and with which we share historical roots.”

In this connection, he emphasized that the Panama Canal “serves the Andean countries strategically” and ensures their “global connectivity.” 

"Panama, the Bolivarian country with the Andean vocation that was lacking, adds the final touches to the Andean Community,” added Andean Community Secretary General, Ecuador’s Freddy Ehlers.  EFE