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Costa Rica ‘cautiously’ rejoins SICA

Foreign Minister Manuel González announced Thursday that Costa Rica would rejoin the Central American Integration System, SICA, after a six-month hiatus.

González told reporters in an audio statement from Honduras that Costa Rica was “cautiously but enthusiastically” returning to the isthmus-wide organization that the country had recently criticized for its failure to dedicate resources to regional problems, and inability to reach consensus.

Costa Rica ended its high-level participation in the regional bloc in December 2015 after a border dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua left thousands of Cuban migrants stranded here. Costa Rica temporarily stopped participating in SICA’s security commission, meetings of presidents and foreign ministers, and in SICA’s executive committee, which oversees policy implementation and evaluation.

Costa Rican officials had hinted in June that the government was looking to reassume full participation before the meeting of presidents this week in Honduras, but not without some guarantees.

According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, Costa Rica asked to see a “roadmap” for how SICA would strengthen and update its institutions within two months and see a full report and audit of all SICA bodies within three months.

Costa Rica’s delegation also called for presidential decrees to be “effectively fulfilled” and not remain mere declarations, among other agreements.

The clock was ticking for Costa Rica to rejoin SICA. After Nicaragua completes its term, Costa Rica is supposed to assume the SICA pro tempore presidency, in January 2017.

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