Minister Cowen meets with Latin American Foreign Ministers
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., today participated in a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the European Union and the Rio Group of Latin American states. The meeting was chaired jointly by the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Peru, Mr. Giorgos Papandreou and Mr. Allan Wagner.
This meeting is part of long-standing, structured dialogue between the EU and the Rio Group. Subjects discussed included the WTO Doha development agenda and cooperation in the fight against illicit drugs.
On 27 March, Minister Cowen also participated in a working dinner with the Ministers of Chile, Bolivia and the Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).
In addition to their own substantive agendas, these meetings form part of the preparations for the third summit of leaders from the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, scheduled to take place in Mexico in the first-half of 2004 under the joint chairmanship of the President of Mexico and the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D.
On the margins of these meetings, Minister Cowen took the opportunity to meet with the Foreign Minister of Colombia, Ms. Carolina Barco, and to discuss with Minister Barco the case of the three Irish men on trial in Colombia.
Note for Editors:
The members of the Rio Group are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Mercosur, the Southern Cone Common Market, was established in March 1991 with the goal of establishing a customs union between its members. Mercosur is currently negotiating an Association Agreement with the EU.