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UPDATED: 13:23, July 12, 2006
Central American leaders vow to boost regional integration
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Central American leaders agreed on Tuesday at their summit in Panama to further strengthen their countries' relations in the areas of customs, immigration and trade.

A declaration signed at the summit by the leaders of Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize committed the seven nations to enhancing regional integration.

In the declaration, the leaders highlighted their achievements of building a common customs system and the decision to begin to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the European Union.

The leaders gave their support to an agreement reached by El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala over the removal of immigration controls at their borders.

By the end of 2006, citizens of the four countries will be able to move among the countries without the need for passports or visas.

The leaders also agreed to hold a regional meeting on energy to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of energy-related accords signed among Central American countries, as part of the efforts to accelerate the regional energy integration.

Source: Xinhua

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