February 26, 1996


Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Washington, DC

The United States supports the Central American Democratic Security Treaty signed December 15, 1995 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras by the Presidents of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. The Treaty's strong commitment to the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, and development in the region are significant. With the signing of this Treaty the Central American countries have continued along a road from conflict to peace and from peace to sustainable development and democracy. The region stands out as a positive example of peaceful resolution of conflicts and the strengthening of confidence in the post-Cold War period. If fully implemented, the Treaty will help consolidate democracy in the region; protect human rights; fight narcotics and weapons trafficking; promote sustained development; improve cooperation on immigration and police matters and encourage a regional arms control arrangement that promotes transparency, confidence and long-term peace.

The Treaty's signing brings to a conclusion the process begun by the Esquipulas II peace accords. The Treaty concludes lengthy negotiations and a positive process conducted by the Central American Security Commission.

Last year, President Clinton set forth U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean. The Administration's policy emphasized that "the long-term strategic goal of the United States in Latin American and the Caribbean is to foster a hemisphere of democratic nations with capable, efficient governments and vibrant civil societies, and with open, dynamic economies providing rising living standards to their peoples and expanding export markets for U.S. products and services." The Administration also called for support of the Central American Security Commission process. That process, a confidence building measure itself, has been successful in defining a lasting document and fitting conclusion to the Esquipulas Process.

The United States has long supported the Central American countries' aspirations in this area. We are happy to see such a positive outcome and look forward to working closely with them as they take the necessary steps to implement the Treaty. The United States hopes that the example of the San Pedro Sula Agreement will be a stimulus for regional or sub-regional arrangements to build transparency and mutual confidence in other parts of the world.