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Cablegate: Panama: Peace Corps Director's Meeting with First

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0537/01 1832202
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 012202Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2230
INFO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 000537

SIPDIS

STATE FOR: WHA/CEN (E. TELLO) AND AMB-DES BARBARA STEPHENSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/26/2018
TAGS: PREL PM PGOV EAID ECON EDEV
SUBJECT: PANAMA: PEACE CORPS DIRECTOR'S MEETING WITH FIRST
VP AND FM SAMUEL LEWIS; MFA,PANAMA CITY, PANAMA; JUNE 26,
2008.

Classified By: POLCHIEF BRIAN R. NARANJO. REASON: 1.4 (D)

-----
EVENT
-----

1. (U) Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter's meeting with
First VP and FM Samuel Lewis.

--------------------
TIME, DATE AND PLACE
--------------------

2. (U) 8:00 am, Thursday, June 26; Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Panama City, Panama.

------------
PARTICIPANTS
------------

3. (U)

Panama:
------
First VP and FM Samuel Lewis

U.S.:
----
Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter
Ambassador William A.Eaton
Peace Corps Country Director Peter Redmond
Peace Corps Staff Assistant David Miller
POL Fellow Aqueelah Torrance (notetaker)

-------
Summary:
-------

4. (C) To celebrate Peace Corps' 45 year commitment to
service in Panama, Director Tschetter, Ambassador Eaton,
and Country Director Peter Redmond met with FM Samuel Lewis
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Minister
expressed his appreciation of the Peace Corps program and
showed gratitude to the Ambassador for his service in Panama.
(Note: Ambassador will conclude his tour in Panama on July
5.) Director Tschetter and FM Lewis discussed the Peace
Corps' contribution to economic growth and social development
in Panama. Both were pleased with Panama's progress and
optimistic about the country's potential for sustainable
growth. Following discussion of the Peace Corps' program, FM
Lewis highlighted the economic benefits of the Panama Canal
and underscored the importance of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade
Agreement.


--------------------------------------------- ------------
PEACE CORPS CELEBRATES 45 YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP WITH PANAMA
--------------------------------------------- ------------

5. (SBU) FM Lewis recognized the Peace Corps' contribution to
economic growth and social development in Panama. Over 45
years, 1700 Peace Corps volunteers had served in Panama. The
recent Peace Corps initiative to develop Panama's tourism
industry and increase access to information technology had
created economic opportunities for local communities,
particularly those located in the countryside, Lewis
asserted. FM Lewis encouraged Peace Corps to expand its
tourism program to additional areas that could benefit from
further income generation.

--------------------
POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH
--------------------

6. (SBU) Following Director Tschetter's recognition of
Panama's economic growth, FM Lewis highlighted the economic
benefits of the expansion of the Panama Canal. The FM noted
that the expansion project was "ahead of schedule and under
budget." He also mentioned that the project is scheduled to
be completed August 15, 2014, the 100 year anniversary of its
original opening. The canal, a vital geographic resource,
generated jobs and stimulated a number of economic activities
including tourism and trade, the FM said.

--------------------------------------------- -----------
PRESIDENTIAL DELEGATION:U.S.-PANAMA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
--------------------------------------------- -----------

7. (C) FM Lewis mentioned that President Martin Torrijos
would lead a delegation to Washington, DC to push for the
U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement in September.

8. (U) Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter did not have an
opportunity to clear this cable.
EATON

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