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    SAN JOSE– Representatives of the European Commission and the government of Costa Rica on Wednesday signed in Brussels a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a bilateral consultation mechanism, the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Ministry announced Wednesday.

    According to the ministry, the agreement aims to “promote cooperation and common understanding in all aspects” between Costa Rica and the European Community.

    The consultation mechanism will be complementary to what is established in the Association Agreement currently being negotiated by the Central American countries and the European Union (EU).

    The agreement provides that European and Costa Ricans senior officials have meetings at least once a year to work together on the promotion of democratic values and sustainable development, according to the ministry.

    “With the signing of this agreement, the European Commission is recognizing the achievements and the specific weight of the oldest democracy in Latin America,” said Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagman.

    The European Commission “regards Costa Rica as a key player in the region and a partner to work effectively to meet the challenges arising from the increasingly complex international and regional context,” he said.

    In addition, he noted, Costa Rica is a main trading partner of the EU in Central America.

    Stagman and Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz, accompanied by the Costa Rican ambassador to Brussels, Roberto Echandi, met Wednesday with EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and other European authorities.

    At the meeting, Costa Rican officials reiterated the need to resume the association agreement negotiations with the EU, which have been postponed due to the June 28 coup in Honduras.

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