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Canada Staying with IICA

September 16, 1998

Reversing a decision it took last year, Canada announced today that it will no longer be withdrawing from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

The decision to withdraw from IICA had drawn serious concern that it would deal a severe blow, especially for the smaller economies of the hemisphere.

ACanada has reconsidered its withdrawal, and we are reversing our original decision, Ambassador Peter M. Boehm, the country=s permanent representative at the Organization of American States (OAS), declared to a meeting of the organization=s high-ranking Permanent Council. ASince the announcement of our intention to withdraw, we have been pleased to note that the process of reform initiated by [IICA Director General] Dr. Aquino has continued, Ambassador Boehm added.

Last December, Dr. Boehm announced that Canada had decided to withdraw from IICA after reviewing its Aextensive memberships in the full gamut of international organizations, agencies and bodies. Following the December announcement, many IICA member countries approached the Canadian government making it clear, Dr. Boehm stated, that ACanada=s absence from IICA would have a severe negative impact in the area of agricultural cooperation throughout the hemisphere.

The Permanent Council chairman, Uruguay=s Ambassador Antonio Mercader described the Canadian ambassador=s announcement as good news and expressed the relief felt by all the delegations. He said the original notice that Canada would leave IICA had Areally left all the delegations with a sense of regret.

Canada joined the Costa Rica-based agricultural cooperation institute in 1972 and has been Aan important provided of technical assistance the ambassador stated.

At the Council meeting, the Canadian diplomat also announced that with Burkina Faso on Wednesday afternoon becoming the 40th country to ratify the Ottawa Convention on Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, Athe treaty will go into effect in six months.

Burkina Faso deposited the ratification instruments with the United Nations in New York.

Among the OAS countries, the Ambassador thanked the governments of The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago for joining Canada in the effort against land mines.

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