In the trip scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Blinken will meet with Panama President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes, multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, international organizations, and NGOs, the State Department said.
They will discuss economic recovery, migration, protection for refugees, asylum seekers, anti-corruption efforts, and support for civil society, it said.
In October, the presidents of Panama, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic had asked for U.S. assistance in stemming the flow of thousands of migrants crossing the dangerous jungles that divide Panama and Colombia as they make their way to the United States.
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A record wave of unauthorized migrants had entered Panama in 2021 from Colombia, according to government data provided to Reuters towards the end of last year, as a surge of mostly Haitians entered the Central American country in route to the United States.
“Through this visit, the Secretary will draw further attention and excitement in the region towards the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California on June 6-10, 2022,” the State Department said.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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