The UK has become an Extra-Regional Observer of SICA, during a ceremony which took place at the headquarters of SICA in San Salvador, El Salvador on 5 May 2013. During the ceremony Secretary General of SICA Juan Daniel Aleman and British Ambassador to El Salvador Linda Cross signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise the agreement.
The UK became a Friend of SICA in September 2011, and applied to become an ExtraRegional Observer in late 2012. The application was approved earlier this year.
Becoming an Extra-Regional Observer will strengthen the UK’s commitment to the region, and will enable the UK to work more closely with SICA and member states. The re-opening of a British Embassy in El Salvador in 2012 enabled the UK to build closer ties with the SICA Secretariat, based in San Salvador.
As an Extra-Regional Observer, the UK will continue to support the Central American Security Strategy, managed by SICA, in recognition of the security challenges faced by the region. As a Friend of SICA, the UK has provided funding and assistance to Central American countries to tackle violence and organised crime, in the form of sharing expertise and providing training for police forces and other justice and security officials. This has included a leadership programme for senior Central American police officers, delivered by the UK’s National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).
After signing the MOU to formalise the agreement for the UK to become an Extra-Regional Observer of SICA, British Ambassador to El Salvador Linda Cross said: “I am delighted to have signed the MOU admitting the UK as an Extra-Regional Observer of SICA. The MOU represents a further strengthening of our ties with Central America, and demonstrates the concrete commitment of the UK to the region.
I look forward to continue working with SICA and colleagues across the region to support sustainable improvements to security, and to bring mutual prosperity through enhanced trade and investment relationships.”