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UPDATED: 09:05, April 18, 2007
EU to announce 840-million-euro aid program for Central America
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The European Union (EU) is about to announce an 840-million-euro (1.141-billion-U.S. dollar) aid program for Central America, the European Commission said Tuesday.

The seven-year program will be announced Wednesday by EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner in Guatemala City.

Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador will take the lion's share of the package, receiving 223 million, 214 million, 135 million and 121 million euros (303 million, 291 million, 183 million and 164 million U.S. dollars) respectively from 2007 to 2013.

Costa Rica will receive 34 million euros (46 million U.S. dollars) and Panama 38 million (52 million U.S. dollars), while 75 million euros (102 million U.S. dollars) has been allocated for regional cooperation.

"Our cooperation strategy with Central America is just one of the ways in which the European Commission is helping the countries of the region cope with the dual challenge of regional integration and social cohesion, and it will accompany the future association agreement between the two regions," said Ferrero-Waldner in a statement.

The European Union hopes to launch negotiations in the near future for an association agreement with Central America.

The European Commission said Monday that Ferrero-Waldner would announce a separate EU aid package worth 160 euros (216 million U.S. dollars) to Colombia during a two-day official visit there starting Monday.

Source: Xinhua

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