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20 foreign ministers from CELAC to attend Beijing meeting

Updated: Jan 5,2015 9:59 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Twenty foreign ministers from members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will attend the first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC forum in Beijing, a Chinese diplomat said on Dec 5.

The UN economic commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Bank of America and Development Bank of Latin America will also send representatives to the meeting on Jan 8 and 9, according to Zhu Qingqiao, director-general for the Department of Latin America and Caribbean Affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“This meeting means the vision of Forum of China and CELAC has been translated into reality,” Zhu said.

President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the meeting on Jan 8. Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis, Ecuador President Rafael Correa Delgado, Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie and Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro Moros will also be present at the ceremony.

Costa Rica currently holds the CELAC rotating chairmanship and Ecuador will be the next. The two countries, together with Cuba and Bahamas, make up the CELAC Quartet.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Costa Rican counterpart Manuel Gonzalez Sanz will co-chair the meeting.

Established in December 2011 in Caracas, Venezuela, CELAC is a block of 33 countries, including all South American countries, some Caribbean states plus Mexico.

During Xi’s visit to Latin America in July 2014, he and CELAC leaders announced the establishment of the cooperation forum and agreed to hold its first ministerial at an early date.