Panama, U.S. Sign Security Agreement
By Dialogo June 21, 2010 The United States and Panama signed a security agreement to reduce and prevent the crime in Darien province, bordering with Colombia. The agreement called the “Darien Initiative” was signed by Panamanian Economy and Finance Minister Alberto Vallarino and U.S. ambassadress to Panama Barbara Stephenson. Vallarino said he was optimistic about the achievements on implementing the agreement, which is mainly centered on the cooperation of the local authorities in order to create “safer communities,” to face the external threats against the civilians. According to Vallarino, the Darien is a vulnerable zone for illegal actions such as weapons trafficking, smuggling and drug trafficking. “The cooperation will be centered on creating better life conditions for the people, mainly for the younger,” added Stephenson. “The goal is to protect vulnerable young people and change their lives with scholarships and create safer communities.” Darien is considered the zone of higher risk for its proximity to Colombia, where there has been armed conflicts since more than 40 years before, including, guerilla, paramilitaries and drug traffickers.