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BRIEF

Central America Security Conference Opens in Guatemala

CARSI / 22 JUN 2011 BY RONAN GRAHAM EN

An international conference to discuss security strategy in Central America, attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will open Wednesday in Guatemala City.

Also present at the International Conference in Support of the Central America Security Strategy will be the Spanish foreign affairs minister and the EU trade commissioner, as well as a host of Central American delegates. Colombia, Mexico, and Chile will send representatives.

At the end of the conference, details of a regional plan against organised crime, set to cost more than $900 million, will be released.

The U.S. has signalled that it does not intend to make new financial commitments at the meeting.

Assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement, William Brownfield, spoke in advance of the meeting of the need to address issues that made Central America attractive for organized crime, namely porous borders, a culture of violence and weak institutions.

Underlining the commitment of the U.S. to tackle these problems, Brownfield emphasised the necessity of “addressing the problem at its fundamental core,” rather than “merely moving the problem around the chessboard."

He stressed that Guatemala will play a vital role in efforts to curtail the spread of organized gangs and narcotics trafficking in the region, due to its relatively large size and proximity to Mexico.

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