The presidents of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, and Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, began a meeting on Wednesday to discuss issues on the bilateral agenda, including the presence of hundreds of irregular migrants, mostly Cubans, who seek to reach United States.
Varela said when he received Alvarado that during the meeting, which will last until the afternoon, they will talk about "security, migratory flows, fight against organized crime, citizen security, tourism and cooperation."
The Costa Rican Presidential House reported on Tuesday that the meeting in Boquete, Chiriquí, was agreed last January during a meeting between the two presidents on the occasion of Alvarado's visit to Panama for the World Youth Day.
"The topics that will be covered are security, tourism and trade, we have a strong, friendly, close and very productive relationship and we will also deal with other issues of the regional reality and how we can address them together," Alvarado said at the press conference that followed to the weekly Governing Council.
In statements to the media Juan Carlos Varela said: "It will be a very interesting day where we will address specific issues, security in the morning, migratory flow, fight against organized crime, citizen security and in the afternoon we will be sharing specific issues, commerce, tourism and what is the cooperation between both countries ".
The President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado said: "We are united by ties of friendship, cooperation and progress. We are a compromised delegation because there are many issues that we will address, issues of security, trade, progress, tourism. We are very motivated to be here, you know that my son was born here in Panama, that is something that always will be close to my heart "
In the matter of migratory issues "Panama and Costa Rica are an example through the controlled operation.We can tell the world today that no extra-continental or regional migrant is abused by any trafficking group when it touches Panamanian or Costa Rican soil. This is a model of cooperation that has been presented to the world: the migratory transits made with order ", said Varela when installing the bilateral meeting.
In that sense, Alvarado stressed that the migratory issues have been "working very well" between the governments of Panama and Costa Rica, and in the meeting on Wednesday the idea is to "deepen that collaboration, for the security" of both countries.
This second bi-national meeting in Boquete between the governments of Varela and Alvarado takes place while Panama manages the passage of more than 700 irregular migrants, 57% Cubans and the rest of countries such as Haiti, Cameroon, Ghana, Eritrea, Ethiopia. They arrived by foot in the Central American country and seek to cross the border of Costa Rica to continue heading north of the American continent.
It is "a last wave of immigration that occurred on the weekend" of February 9 and 10, said on 13 February the Minister of Public Security of Panama to Efe, Jonattan Del Rosario, who then stressed that "neither it is the worst migrant crisis "that the country has faced.
Del Rosario referred to the thousands of Cubans, Haitians and Africans in transit to the United States were stranded between the end of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 in Panama and Costa Rica, after Nicaragua closed its border, and were evacuated through a special operation that had the support of Mexico.
A part of the more than 700 migrants who arrived between the 9 and 10 of February last to Panama through the border with Colombia have been transferred to the province of Chiriqui, bordering Costa Rica, according to official data.
According to the official Costa Rican information, Varela and Alvarado will also analyze on Wednesday the topics of the modernization of the customs posts, the joint tourist promotion, the commercial relations, initiatives for the Amistad National Park, the advance of the binational bridge over the river Sixaola and the Joint Cooperation Commission.
The Costa Rican delegation that accompanies Alvarado is made up of Foreign Minister Manuel Ventura and Security Ministers, Michael Soto; of Public Works and Transportation, Rodolfo Méndez; of Agriculture, Renato Alvarado; of Foreign Trade, Dyalá Jiménez, and of Turismo Mariamalia Revelo.
Also present are the directors of the Public Force, Daniel Calderón; of the Border Police, Allan Obando; and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security, Eduardo Trejos.
Varela is accompanied on this occasion by a group of ministers and the country's vice president and foreign minister, Isabel De Saint Malo, according to the information available.
At a meeting last January, Presidents Alvarado and Varela discussed bilateral issues, but also referred to the role of the Lima Group in seeking a way out of the political crisis in Venezuela.
With information of EFE