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Thursday, March 5, 2015

WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET ON SUPPORTING THE ALLIANCE FOR PROSPERITY IN THE NORTHERN TRIANGLE

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE

March 03, 2015
FACT SHEET: Support for the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle

Vice President Biden traveled to Guatemala March 2-3 for two days of meetings with the Presidents of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno, to advance implementation of the “Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle” announced last November in Washington, DC.  The Vice President was accompanied by State Department Counselor Thomas A. Shannon, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, Under Secretary of Commerce Stefan Selig, USAID Associate Administrator Mark Feierstein, Southcom Commander General John Kelly, and Inter-American Development Bank U.S. Executive Director Mark Lopes.

This week's meetings provided an opportunity for the leaders to discuss steps to stimulate economic growth, reduce inequality, promote educational opportunities, target criminal networks responsible for human trafficking, and help create governance and institutions that are transparent and accountable.

During working group meetings on March 3, Northern Triangle leaders committed in a Joint Statement to specific actions to advance implementation of the Alliance for Prosperity, in cooperation with the United States and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Specific commitments made by the leaders included the following:

- The United States and Northern Triangle governments agreed to hold a regional security dialogue in May 2015;

- The Northern Triangle governments agreed to expand centers in high-crime neighborhoods for at-risk youth to acquire job and life skills and participate in recreational activities in a safe environment;

- They agreed to create independent governmental auditing mechanisms by the end of 2015 to help combat corruption;

- Honduras will introduce a plan for police service reform by June 2015;

- Honduras will recruit, train, and deploy an additional 6,000 police over the next three years;

- El Salvador will present a bill criminalizing bulk cash smuggling by June 2015;

- Guatemala will introduce legislation to transition from an inquisitorial to an accusatorial judicial system by December 2015;

-  The Northern Triangle countries agreed to diversify their energy matrix in 2015, to include promoting the completion of a gas pipeline from Mexico to Central America;

- They agreed to promote an integrated, efficient energy market by modifying the regulations governing the regional electricity market by 2016;

- The leaders agreed to hold advisory meetings by Summer 2015 to promote private investment;

- Guatemala and Honduras agreed to implement their recently announced Customs Union by December 2015;

- The Northern Triangle governments agreed to establish a government “single window” for foreign investors by December 2015;

- They agreed to develop public investment plans for the areas of greatest economic need by April 2015;

- They agreed to develop education investment plans focusing on pre-school, secondary, and vocational schools by the end of 2016;

- The Northern Triangle leaders agreed to develop specific strategies for women’s economic empowerment by 2016;
 
- Guatemala will create specialized anti-money laundering, asset forfeiture, and cybercrime units by June 2015;

- The three Northern Triangle countries agreed to develop a plan to professionalize civil services beginning in 2015;

- They committed to strengthen their tax base through better tax administration, more robust tax authorities, and tax code simplification.

Foreign Ministers from the three countries also agreed to present a detailed implementation roadmap for the Alliance for Prosperity at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington on March 16, 2015. The leaders also agreed to meet during the first half of 2015 with private sector and civil society stakeholders to receive feedback on the roadmap.

In addition to the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request which included $1 billion for Central America, the Vice President announced that the Administration would work with Congress to increase assistance to the region in Fiscal Year 2015.