2012-12-06 18:58:24 -
GUATEMALA CITY, REPUBLIC OF GUATEMALA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/06/12 -- I am pleased to be here today with President Perez Molina to reaffirm Canada's enduring ties with the Republic of Guatemala.
Allow me to begin by expressing my gratitude to His Excellency for welcoming my wife, Sharon, our Canadian delegation and me to Guatemala. It is an honour to undertake this State visit to one of Canada's close friends in the Americas.
At first glance, Canada and Guatemala may look like a study in contrasts, but our two countries have a shared dream of building smarter, more caring societies and a fairer, more just world.
Today, Guatemalans and Canadians enjoy growing collaboration in a number of important spheres. We are fostering trade and investment between our two countries, and we are partners in increasing justice, security, respect for human rights and corporate social responsibility here in Guatemala. We also collaborate closely in regional and international fora including the Friends of Central America process.
Canada places a high priority on justice and the rule of law, and Canadians are pleased to support the strengthening of Guatemalan institutions for a just and peaceful society. For example, through the Global Peace and Security Fund, Canada has committed almost $10 million since 2009 to realize greater security, justice, conflict resolution and human rights protection in Guatemala.
The Canadian private sector is also eager to play a role in this effort by sharing technology and knowledge for a safer, more prosperous Guatemala. Canadian investment in Guatemala creates jobs and opportunities for your citizens.
I am also delighted to have the opportunity during my visit to meet with a cross-section of academic, civil society, business and government leaders to discuss a variety of issues such as food security and rural economic development. This is yet another example of Canada's meaningful engagement in Guatemala, including through the work of the Canadian International Development Agency.
As governor general, I am pleased to join the growing numbers of Canadian expatriates in Guatemala who are all "ambassadors" for Canada. We also greatly appreciate the contribution to Canadian society made by the thousands of people from Guatemala who now call Canada home.
Together, we have a wonderful opportunity to promote the values of good governance and respect for human rights that we both share. In this way, we can make a real contribution to increasing our collective well-being.
I am delighted to end my three-country visit to Latin America here in Guatemala. I have already learned a great deal about your country since my arrival, and I look forward to continued dialogue and exchange.
Canadians and Guatemalans have much to learn from each other, so let us continue to work together to deepen our friendship and co-operation.
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