Regional leaders headed to Guatemala to discuss security

Regional leaders are gathering in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Wednesday for a conference in support of a Central American security strategy.

Attending will be President Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica. She will make a quick trip Wednesday morning to arrive by 10 a.m. at the Hotel Westin Camino Real. She returns to Costa Rica Thursday morning, said Casa Presidencial.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead the U.S. delegation, said the U.S. State Department. The event is being staged by the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana.

The International Conference seeks to highlight the grave security challenges that Central America is facing, to urge a
more robust joint response from Central American governments, civil society and the private sector, and to galvanize international support for their efforts to reduce the high levels of crime and insecurity in the region, said the State Department.
The visiting heads of state are likely to have lengthy shopping lists and the expectation of more money from Washington. President Barack Obama announced the regional security partnership during his visit in March.

The Central American Integration System leadership and the seven Central American states, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panamá, will present a new Central America security strategy to the international community at the conference in an effort to attract greater international attention to the security challenges, and seek enhanced levels of political engagement and support from their regional and international partners, the State Department said.

The strategy includes an action plan and portfolio of regional programs aimed at addressing key security concerns in Central America, including narcotics and arms trafficking, transnational criminal gangs, border security, reintegration and prevention, and law enforcement training, the State Department added. The United States has invested vast sums in the Central American states mostly to reduce drug trafficking.

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