Uribe: Colombia Seeks Continental Integration

Colombia was accepted as part of the Plan Puebla-Panama last week, reaching one of the government's main goals in terms of integration with Central America, President Alvaro Uribe told BNamericas.

Plan Puebla-Panama is series of infrastructure and social development projects originally designed to improve integration between Central America and southeast Mexico. Negotiations on behalf of Uribe's administration will now bring the plan - pushed forward with the help of Mexico's President Vicente Fox and the aid of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - into South America.

The country's acceptance into the plan will allow further integration with Central America, initially in terms of gas and the energy transmission line, said Uribe.

One of Colombia's main priorities is to build El Darien highway, connecting the country with neighboring Panama, Uribe said. The project will be addressed once the entrance of Chinese goods coming into Colombia through Panama is solved.

Increasing road infrastructure to facilitate the transport of goods for export - including textiles - tops the priority list, said Uribe.


Colombia has taken a number of steps to work along with Venezuela to advance on energy integration throughout South America, said Uribe.

"We are also building a third pipeline to Ecuador, which is under execution. Ecuador is already connected with Peru," he said. "Today we are capable of sending or receiving energy from Peru through this interconnection, which we are reinforcing," he added.

"We want to support the total integration of the South American energy ring and this subject will be one of the topics included in the bilateral agenda of our meeting with Chile's President Michelle Bachelet to be held on July 27 in Lima," said Uribe.

With the leadership of both Peru's President-elect Alan Garcia and Bachelet, Colombia aims to reach an agreement between the Andean community and Chile, which will not only benefit regional integration but also bolster negotiations between the continent and third parties such as the EU, he added.

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