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Presidents of Peru and Ecuador reaffirm commitment to peace process and economic development of the border region

FORTALEZA, Brazil –The Presidents of Ecuador and Peru, Excellencies Gustavo Noboa Bejarano and Alejandro Toledo Manrique, today confirmed the commitment of their governments and people to the peace process as well as to the economic and social development of their frontier region.

The two heads of state participated in the Second Meeting of the International Advisory Committee of the Binational Development Plan for the Development of the Ecuador-Peru Border Region that was held in Fortaleza in conjunction with the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank. They were accompanied by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Heinz Moeller Freile and Peruvian Foreign Minister Diego Garcia Sayan and other high officials of both countries.

Both Presidents urged that the mobilization of resources for investment in the region be accelerated on a priority basis and indicated that the two countries invested out of their own resources more than $500 million for development of the frontier region since the Brasilia Peace Accords of 1998. The agreement ended years of border conflict that inflicted suffering and neglect on the border region.

In addition, the two Presidents indicated that over 90 percent of the funds pledged by donors since the First Consultative Group meeting in New Orleans, in March 2000, has been already being committed to specific projects and programs. The total amount committed by the donor community was more than $230 million dollars.

President Noboa stressed the importance of the track record of the two countries in following through with their commitments to deepen the peace process as well as develop the border region. He noted the countries demonstrated capacity to carry out the program under “democracy and stability.”

President Toledo thanked the international community for its support and proposed a six-point program for international assistance. The plan included softer terms on loans, the exemption of multilateral financing for the binational program from debt ceilings, and a commitment on the part of the two countries to expedite the implementation of the investment program.

“We have achieved peace,” he said. “Our people are waiting inpatiently for the results of peace.”

In welcoming the two presidents, IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias, chairman of the Advisory Committee, praised the two countries for “notable success” in carrying out the initial phases of projects after launching the Binational Development Plan.

The president of the Binational Group to Promote Private Investment, Roque Benavides, stated the commitment of the private sector to give continuity to the peace process by generating the conditions to attract binational and foreign investment to the border area.

The meeting was hosted by the Brazilian government, represented by Planning Minister Martus Tavares and other senior officials. Tavares, speaking as the personal representative of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, expressed “total support” of Brazil for the peace agreements and the strongest resolve to support the needs of the two countries through contributions from the international community.

In addition to Ecuador, Peru, and the IDB, Advisory Committee members include Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United States, the European Union, the Andean Development Corporation and the United Nations Development Programme.

The members of the International Advisory Committee reconfirmed their commitment to support the development of the border region and to provide additional funding in another Consultative Group meeting. In this connection, the foreign ministers of Ecuador and Peru made a special plea for the Group to hold the next Consultative Group Meeting for the Border Region at the earliest possible time, with a strong preference for the last week of June in Washington, D.C.

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