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Mexico, Guatemala link power grids

June 15, 2006 - EFE

Mexico City: President Vicente Fox and Guatemalan counterpart Oscar Berger met Tuesday in the southern Mexican border town of Tapachula to inaugurate a link between the two countries’ power grids as part of a regional integration initiative.

Besides launching the $40 million interconnection project, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of an accord under which Mexico will export electricity to towns and rural areas in Guatemala, which, like its Central American neighbors, is struggling to cope with surging energy prices.

Fox said in his remarks welcoming Berger that the beginning of the grid-linking effort and the agreement on power exports constitute “good news” not only for Mexico and Guatemala, but for ambitions to bring development to all of “Mesoamerica,” a term denoting southern Mexico and the Central American isthmus.

The interconnection project is part of Fox’s Puebla-Panama Plan, a regional development scheme that was recently joined by Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

“I am convinced the two countries (Mexico and Guatemala) will continue working to transform Mesoamerica into a place of opportunity and justice for all, with growing economic development,” said Fox, whose six-year term ends in December.

Berger hailed the interconnection project as proof of the two governments’ commitment to make Mesoamerican integration a reality, and he praised his fellow conservative for Mexico’s macroeconomic stability, calling it an inspiration for Guatemala.

Also on hand for Tuesday’s ceremony was the director of Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission, Antonio Elias Ayub, who told reporters that the interconnection with Guatemala is just part of a project to link the power grids from Mexico to Colombia. He said that Spain and the Inter-American Development Bank are joining the Mexican and Colombian governments in financing that massive project, expected to cost more than $320 million.