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Americas

Central American leaders agree on common currency

Latest update : 2008-12-06

Central American leaders, including the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, have agreed to adopt a common currency and passport to boost regional integration in the wake of a global financial crisis that has hit emerging countries hard.

AFP - A summit of Central American leaders on Friday agreed to adopt a common regional currency and passport, among other measures to bolster regional integration in the face of global financial uncertainty, they said in a statement.

The eight leaders vowed to promote "a regional conscience that instills people with a sense of identity and belonging to a united Central American region," including "perfecting the issue of a Central American passport and the adoption of a single Central American currency."

They also resolved to "standardize laws" in the immigration, education and security sectors "that will give greater cohesion to Central American integration and that ensure citizens the benefits of that integration."

A report on progress made on all those issues will be presented at the next Central American summit, the statement added.

The presidents of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and representatives from Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic and Belize also agreed Friday on a 41-point economic blueprint to help the region weather the current global financial storm.

"At this time, the financial system is undergoing a very deep crisis that directly affects our countries. The most vulnerable economies, the societies with the highest rates of poverty, logically, are the first to suffer," Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said at the summit opening.

The leaders also agreed on a 41-point "Plan of Emergency Measures" to confront regional financial upheaval that includes a regional credit fund and stimulus programs for the region's farming, consumer and trade sectors.

The summit was held at the Arab-Honduran Club in San Pedro Sula, Honduras' next largest city after its capital San Salvador, 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of here.

Date created : 2008-12-06